GUWAHATI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah is facing criticism for allegedly buying time to implement the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya.
Some pro-ILP organisations in the north-eastern state are miffed with him for shifting the venue of his proposed meeting with them from New Delhi to Shillong.
During his January visit to the Meghalaya capital, Shah could not meet the leaders of the organisations because of his packed schedule. Later, he had invited them to Delhi to discuss the issue.
As they were expecting an audience in the national capital, the Union Home Minister told Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Wednesday that he would meet the leaders of the organisations in Shillong in March. The organisations are viewing it as a tactic to delay the ILP process.
"By shifting the venue of the meeting, the Centre is trying to delay the process," Khasi Students’ Union president Lambokstar Marngar alleged.
He said the students' organisation will not relent until the ILP is implemented in the state.
After meeting Shah in Delhi, Sangma had issued a statement. It made mention of various issues discussed but there was no word on the ILP. This made the Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO) suspect that the Centre is not keen on implementing the ILP in the state.
"We are not happy with the outcome of the CM's meeting with the Union Home Minister. We got a sense that the protection of the state's indigenous populace and their identity is not important to the Central government," CoMSO chairman, Robertjune Kharjahrin said.
The ILP is an official document issued to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh are covered under it.
The Meghalaya Assembly had in December 2019 unanimously passed a resolution urging the Centre to grant the ILP to the state. The various organisations in the state view it as a shield against the influx of illegal immigrants.