Home Minister mum on ILP, language recognition

MEETING WITH State MINISTERS

SHILLONG, July 26: Union Home Minister Amit Shah did not utter a word on issues such as the implementation of the inner line permit (ILP) during the meeting with Meghalaya’s Cabinet ministers on Saturday.
The other issues he chose not to react to were the inclusion of the Khasi language in the Eighth Schedule and the amendment to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
A senior Minister, declining to be quoted, said it was disappointing that Shah did not reply to any of the questions and observations by his Cabinet colleagues.
PHE Minister Renikton L. Tongkhar confirmed Shah’s near-silence during the meeting. “The Union Home Minister spoke only to suggest the need to replace the word ‘President’ with ‘Governor’ in paragraph 12 AB of the Sixth Schedule,” he said.
Tongkhar said Shah on most occasions smiled at the observations and suggestions of the Ministers. “Forget about ILP, he did not respond to anything,” he added.
Another Minister said Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma would be able to give more information as he had more time to speak with Shah.
The Union Home Minister had been non-committal on the ILP when some leaders of the pressure groups met him, although he listed to them on the demand for implementing the entry permit system.
“He (Shah) only listened to what we said. There was no assurance or commitment on the ILP,” Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) president Lambokstarwell Marngar said.
BJP leader and Health Minister Alexander L. Hek defended Shah.
“A Union Minister cannot take a decision on any matter instantly. He will definitely exercise his mind and something positive will come out,” he said.
According to Hek, Shah had patiently heard the Cabinet Ministers when they raised the ILP issue.
Hek trashed the theory that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre may grant ILP to Meghalaya ahead of the 2023 Assembly elections to score political points.
“The BJP takes up pertinent issues in the interest of the people. I will continue to raise the ILP demand whenever I get the opportunity to,” he said, adding he was not aware of Shah allegedly telling the people to choose between ILP and Sixth Schedule.
Meanwhile, the youth wing of the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) has stated that the two-day visit of the Union Home Minister has only brought humiliation for the people of the state.
“Time & again the cry for speedy implementation of ILP and inclusion of Khasi language in the Eighth Schedule have been ignored,” KHNAM youth wing member, Glenbert Khongwir said in a statement on Monday.
Khongwir also claimed that Shah’s visit was only intended to expand the political interest of the BJP in the state.

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