SHILLONG: A crowd ranging anywhere between 15,000- 20,000 from across the State attended the public rally organised by the 13 pro-ILP pressure groups at Student’s Field, Jaiaw here on Saturday.
The pro-ILP pressure groups organised the public rally to garner mass support to their ongoing movement to demand the implementation of the Inner Line Permit.
As expected, the rally which saw a huge turnout was attended by people of all age groups and they chanted the slogan “No ILP No Rest”.
MLAs from the UDP, MDCs from KHNAM including UDP working president Paul Lyngdoh and HSPDP president Hoping Stone Lyngdoh attended the public rally.
Meanwhile, the people of Mawlai held a peaceful procession from Mawlai Madan Heh to the Student’s Field to attend the public rally.
As soon as the rally started, some of the youths kicked and slapped an effigy of Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma before burning it down and condemning the adamant attitude of the Chief Minister in resisting the implementation of the ILP.
“We are encouraged and inspired on seeing such a huge turnout. This proves that the ILP movement is not that of the pressure groups alone. It is the movement of the local indigenous people of the State,” KSU president Daniel Khyriem said while speaking at the public rally.
The KSU president also said that all the leaders who have been arrested have sent a message that they are ready to be locked inside the jail till the Government agrees to implement the ILP.
HNYF general secretary Sadon K Blah asserted that ILP is the only mechanism to check unabated influx problem and flow of illegal immigrants.
“We are going through a very dangerous phase. We cannot allow the Government to play with the future and interest of the indigenous people for the sake of their vote bank politics. The Government has to implement the ILP immediately to ensure that the local indigenous people are not reduced into a minority in their own State,” Blah said.
He said that the politicians in the State are interpreting the law according to their convenience.
“There are many Supreme Court rulings which the Government has failed to adhered to. But when the ruling suits their interest they would not delay to implement it. This only shows the duplicity on the part of our politicians,” the HNYF general secretary said.
He said that the argument that the ILP would affect the development of the State holds no water.
“What will would we do with development if we lose our identity? Development should come along with protection,” Blah said.
Despite claiming that the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Repealed Act of 1879 had excluded Garo Hills from the purview of the ILP, he said that the Government till now has not been able to provide any document to prove that the Act was repealed.
The HNYF president said that the Government is trying to mislead by giving false information since they are against the implementation of the ILP.
In a message to Dr Mukul Sangma, Blah said, “I would like to ask the Chief Minister even if he has to knock the doors of heaven, he should give us ILP. We are only asking the Government to implement the law which is formulated by human beings,” the HNYF general secretary said.
While rejecting the proposed Meghalaya Landlord and Tenants Verification Bill, 2013, he said that the proposed tenancy bill has no teeth to tackle the issue of influx.
“There is no reference in the draft of the proposed bill on the issue of influx. Instead of checking of influx, it would help to increase influx,”
FKJGP president Jo Marwein said that the Chief Minister had always been alleging that the pressure groups are narrow-minded.
“In fact it is the Chief Minister who has a narrow mind. He even rejected the recommendation of the High Level Committee (HLC) on Influx which was constituted at his behest,” Marwein said.
He said that the Chief Minister had constituted the Committee to suggest the best possible mechanism for tackling the problem of influx.
“As members of the Committee, they had taken a lot of pain to attend several meetings to deliberate on the mechanism to address the issue of influx. After detailed deliberations, the Committee came to a conclusion that ILP is the best possible mechanism to address influx,” Marwein said.
He said that Dr Mukul Sangma has rejected the recommendations of the HLC on Influx without bothering to discuss the matter with his Cabinet colleagues.
The FKJGP president also slammed the Government for trying the members of the agitating pressure groups.
“The police have arrested the pressure groups members without having any proof. They have also booked them under MPDA without any justification,” Marwein said.
GSU president Tengsak G Momin said that the GSU is firm in their stand that they would not stop fighting till the Government implements the ILP.
“We need a strong mechanism like the ILP to check the unabated influx before it is too late. We do not want Meghalaya to become another Tripura where the local indigenous population is reduced into minority,” he said.
Other speakers who spoke at the meeting included the JSU president Rikut S Parein, Achik Youth Welfare Organisation president Adinson Momin, RBYF general secretary LK Sawkmie among others.