The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on December 19 unanimously adopted a government resolution urging the union government to implement the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state to safeguard the interest of the ethnic communities in the state following the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019.
The resolution was adopted after a lengthy discussion in the House with both the members from the ruling National People’s Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government and the Opposition Congress deliberated on the controversial CAA.
The opposition Congress, which supported the government’s resolution, also wanted an amendment to the resolution to urge the centre to immediately repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
However, assembly speaker Metbah Lyngdoh disallowed it saying that special session was convened mainly to adopt a resolution to implement the ILP in the state.
“Although the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 has provided that it shall not apply to tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as include in the Sixth Schedule to the constitution, this provision will not be adequate to protect and safeguard the interests of the tribal population of the state,” the government resolution said.
“We want the entire State to be exempted from the purview of the CAA and the ILP implemented in the State of Meghalaya,” Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said while moving the resolution and even as it described it as ‘historic day’ for the state.
He said that the government resolution on the ILP which derives from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Act passed by the assembly would not go to the parliament, but the President may simply insert the word Meghalaya in the preamble of the regulation and issue a notification.
“As we speak in one voice and as we go together, it is not just the 60 legislators but 33 lakh people of Meghalaya. When we go to Delhi and say we want ILP to be implemented,” the CM said even as he voiced confidence of a ‘positive response’ from the union government.
Moreover, he said a number of concerns of the state were addressed in the CAA, however, it was not enough and the ‘fight has to continue’ till the State gets a total exemption and ILP implemented.
“The government is trying to bring in further legislation to discourage influx and some legislation like the Land Transfer Act works to the advantage of the indigenous tribal population,” he said.
Meanwhile, people who have gathered in large numbers including members of various civil societies groups at the State Central Library premises right and near Barik point welcomed government resolution.
Leader of the opposition, Mukul Sangma also demanded an amendment to the resolution to urge the centre to immediately repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
He also stressed that the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA), 2016 should be implemented so that illegal influx into the State could be curbed.
Several other Congress members and from the ruling participated in the debate and expressed concern over influx and wanted the implementation of the ILP and also the speedy implementation of the ordinance to amending the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act.
One of the two BJP members in the house, Sanbor Shullai, who also supported the resolution informed the house that he has submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Home Minister Amit Shah against the Citizenship Amendment Bill last year.
The BJP is supporting the NPP-led MDA government in the state.
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress wanted an amendment to the government resolution which was disallowed by the speaker, Methbah Lyngdoh. As part of the amendment, it was sought that besides implementing ILP the Centre would be asked to ‘immediately repeal the CAA’.