Missives and photo ops: HM’s visit in a nutshell
Shah’s ILP snub stokes anger
SHILLONG, Jan 23: The much anticipated meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the Inner-Line Permit (ILP) issue was a no-show, leaving some state cabinet ministers and leaders of various pressure groups disappointed, angry and feeling insulted on Saturday.
Leaders of political parties and pressure groups were reportedly not allowed to say a word on the ILP issue during their two-minute interaction with Shah. They were only allowed to submit memorandums, pose for photos and leave.
“I feel it is an insult to the state government and to the people of Meghalaya. We expected the Home Minister to at least give some message to the people on the Centre’s stand on ILP, whether it would be implemented in the state or rejected. We did not get even a few minutes to discuss,” Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) president Lambokstar Marngar said.
He said Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma had informed the KSU that they would be invited to Delhi for discussing, along with state political leaders, the ILP issue with Shah in February. “We will see but we expect (the meeting) sooner,” he added.
Marngar, however, said the union would continue to agitate for ILP while pursuing talks.
Hynniewtrep National Youth Federation leader Sadon Blah said hopes were dashed by the way things panned out during Shah’s visit. “The Home Minister was aware about the ILP movement and should have given time to discuss. His tour was a big disappointment,” he said.
“It was surprising that the state cabinet ministers were also not given time for discussions,” Blah added.
Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People president Wellbirth Rani said, “The Home Minister made us unhappy. We will intensify our stir.”
Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations chairman Robertjune Kharjahrin also expressed his displeasure. “Nevertheless, we hope to meet Shah in New Delhi, probably on February 1 for a detailed discussion on ILP. But our constituents will meet soon for the next course of agitation as the people’s voice needs to be stronger,” he said.
Jaintia Students’ Union general secretary Treibor Suchen said the very brief meeting with Shah was like a snub to the pro-ILP movement and the people of Meghalaya.
Some state ministers too were left fuming.
“A cabinet minister not allowed to say a single word apart from submitting a memorandum is unacceptable,” Sports Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh said. He added that on display was a lack of respect for the sentiments of the people of the state.
Community and Rural Development Minister Hamletson Dohling also aired his unhappiness. “We could not say anything or hear anything from him (Shah). But this will not stop us from demanding ILP from the Centre,” he said.