By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, July 21: In a statement that is likely to pour cold water on the efforts of the pro-ILP pressure groups to secure an audience with Union Home Minister, Amit Shah during his scheduled visit to the state on July 24, senior BJP leader and Health Minister, AL Hek on Wednesday said that he was “not very optimistic” about getting an opportunity to discuss burning issues of the state, primarily the demand for ILP, with the Union Home Minister.
“However, if we at all get an opportunity to talk to him we will take up issues concerning the interest of the state,” Hek said.
The BJP leader’s statement is of considerable significance if the previous visit of the Union Home Minister to the state on January 23, 2021 is taken into account. In spite of towering expectations of a discussion on the demand for implementation of the Inner Line Permit, Shah’s visit turned out to be more of a photo op session with pressure groups getting a few minutes to submit a memorandum on their demands and posing for photos with the Union Home Minister.
There was no discussion on issues concerning the state.
Hek, meanwhile, said that Shah will be accompanied by newly-appointed DoNER Minister, GK Reddy and Law Minister, Kiren Rijiju.
The Union Home Minister was earlier scheduled to visit Meghalaya on July 17 but it was postponed and a fresh date of July 24 was announced.
However, state government is yet to share the detailed itinerary of Shah’s visit with the media.
Seven groups write
to CM to meet Shah
Nonetheless, seven pressure groups of the state have requested Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma to help them get an audience with Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, who is scheduled to visit Shillong on July 24.
“We have already submitted a letter to the Chief Minister in this connection. We are yet to receive a response,” Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) president, Lambokstarwell Marngar said on Wednesday.
He said the KSU is keen on meeting Shah to discuss some pertinent issues, including the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state.
He alleged the Home Minister is trying to delay the implementation of the ILP. The charge stems from Shah’s alleged flip-flop over meeting the leaders of the pressure groups.
Marngar said the Home Minister had spoken about meeting them in Delhi and then shifted the venue of talks to Shillong.
“We have waited for long for an audience with him. We hope we can meet him this time around,” the KSU president said.
According to him, the demand for the ILP in the state under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1872 has been a burning issue since 1979.
The student leader recalled the Meghalaya Assembly passing a resolution on December 19, 2019 endorsing ILP and urging the Centre for its implementation.
Marngar said there cannot be any justification in denying ILP to Meghalaya when the Centre could gift it to Manipur more than a year ago.
“Manipur got it without agitating as much as we did. The KSU and other organisations have been demanding it for more than 40 years now,” he added.
Apart from KSU, the other pressure groups willing to meet Shah are Federation of Khasi-Jaintia and Garo People, Hynniewtrep National Youth Front, Ri Bhoi Youth Federation, Garo Students’ Union, Association of Democratic Empowerment and Achik Youth Welfare Organisation.