Brainstorming session on ‘Vision for democratic and progressive M’laya’
SHILLONG: Concerned over the ILP stalemate which has affected the normal life of people of the State for the last few months, intellectuals and academicians have also entered the fray to deliberate at length on the pros and cons of the Inner Line Permit while impressing on a need for a democratic and progressive Meghalaya.
The current impasse which is the outcome of the demand for the implementation of the ILP has for the past three months instilled a sense of fear and insecurity among the people especially the genuine non-tribals of the State, following events of agitations which even claimed a life and property damages.
Hoping to arrive at a logical conclusion to end this stalemate, a brainstorming session on ‘Vision for democratic and progressive Meghalaya- On and beyond Inner Line Permit’ was organized by the department of Political Science, NEHU at the university’s premises here on Wednesday.
Academicians who presented their papers on this day included professors of NEHU, lecturers of Martin Luther Christian University (MLCU) and other colleges, director of the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures (DBCIC), Nongthymmai MLA Jemino Mawthoh, Vice-Chancellor of MLCU RG Lyngdoh, youth leaders besides others, presented their papers on this day.
Expressing his views in favour of the ILP, Lecturer of Seng Khasi College Sadon Blah, who is also an NGO leader said “Our demand is very relevant as it speaks in volume about our concern to preserve not only our cultural identity but also the rights to self-determination.”
Stating that there is a need to re-define the ILP to address the problem of influx efficiently without causing hindrance to development, Blah said that that not denying the fact, that Meghalaya is a transit state where the entry of people is on and off, “It is therefore becoming much more important to have a strong and modified law like the ILP in place, not necessarily to harass the genuine people but to prevent non-locals from trying to take roots in this State,” he said.
When asked whether implementation of ILP will address the problem of influx effectively if the same is regulated and monitored by the same implementing agency, Blah said “The solution to this is to shift our concentration from mere checking at the entry and exit points to in-depth engagement of traditional bodies, rangbah shnong, civil society but not in the line of tenancy parameters as the issue here is to check influx not verify it.”
Deviating from what Blah has spoken, renowned columnist HH Mohrmen said “The way out of this quagmire is not ILP but people choosing their own path to the future, let the people decide what is best for them and let everybody be part of the decision-making,” he said adding that the need of the hour is to have a non-partisan commission to chalk out the future course of action for the state by involving all the stakeholders in the state.
“In the past we have tried every trick in the trade to solve this problem and even constituted a government commission and the High level Committee, but these commissions and committees has obviously failed to arrive at a conclusion,” Mohrmen said.
“What we need now is to start building bridges rather than walls,” Mohrmen observed while adding that every crises is a public crises, so only the people can solve their own problem.
On the same note, Vice Chancellor of MLCU RG Lyngdoh said “My biggest fear today is that we are still allowing our emotions to determine public policy because I feel that an emotion-led public policy is fraught with many problems.”
Pointing that the consequences, good and bad have to be studied objectively before a policy is recommended for implementation, he said “Evidences for and against have to be first studied and weighed.”
Cautioning policy makers against the policy of protection, Lyngdoh said that in the past, it was witnessed that policy like the reservation policy instead of protecting our people, has only given a false sense of security and blunted the competitive spirit by killing the work culture. “I fear that the ILP may generate the same problem,” he said adding that ready-made solutions may do more harm than good if not researched thoroughly.
On the other hand, Director of the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures (DBCIC), Fr Joseph Puthenpurakal observed that the issue here is of retaining cultural values and generation of employment more than the implementation of ILP.
“ILP or no ILP is not an issue, but development, employment and economic sustainability keeping the cultural values and identity intact, is an issue which needs to be discussed at length,” Fr Joseph said.
Similarly, a professor of NEHU, Prof Sumarbin Umdor said “The need of the hour is for us to also concentrate on fiscal prudence, increase labour productivity, effect convergence of programmes, and improve governance through better administration and conflict resolution.”
“Today while much attention in the state is being drawn on the influx issue, to me the poor state of the economy of Meghalaya is as much a challenge that need our focus and attention as is the issue of illegal immigrant,” Prof Umdor said.