Home Ministry sends letter to State Govt

Centre says no to ILP demand

New Delhi: The Centre has rejected the demand for introduction of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in Meghalaya as it feels that there is no provision in the Constitution under which the ILP system can be enforced in new areas.

“There is no provision in the Constitution to introduce ILP in any state. It can continue in states where it already exists as per the Constitution, or if need be it can be withdrawn. But we cannot introduce ILP anymore, anywhere else,” Joint Secretary (North East) in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs Shambhu Singh told this scribe.

The Centre had recently sent a letter to the Meghalaya Government, declining the demand for introducing the ILP system in the state.

There has been unrest in Meghalaya for the past several months, with pro-ILP protests gaining momentum and normal life being paralyzed.

Thirteen pressure groups recently threatened to intensify the agitation across the State if the government failed to re-introduce ILP system to check entry of outsiders.

Singh said informal discussions with the State Government had been going on in the past over the demand but a formal letter was sent only recently spelling out the Centre’s stand.

Without revealing the details of the letter, Singh said the introduction of ILP would be a retrograde step in every aspect for Meghalaya, especially for its economic development.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, unlike his Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh counterparts, reportedly, believes that the ILP is an “ineffective” system to check illegal migration and that it had lost its efficacy.

Sangma has asserted that the ILP system was “colonial and outdated” and has refused to support the demand for its introduction in the state.

Many feel that the agitation was a result of internal politics of Meghalaya, which has seen political instability more often than not. The issue, which has already spread to the streets of Meghalaya, may turn uglier with the Lok Sabha election fever catching up in the country.

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