Conrad says govt is in discussion to diffuse situation in state

SHILLONG, Dec 17: Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma on Tuesday admitted that there were disturbances in the state in the past 4-5 days but things have reduced to a large extent.

“Obviously a lot of discussions have taken place a lot of steps have been taken and the government is also being very firm (to deal with the situation),” Conrad said.

The Chief Minister also said that his government during the meeting with the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah last week informed that it will be going ahead with the resolution to urge the centre to implement Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya.

It may be mentioned that after the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) by the Parliament last week, there was large scale protests in the state especially in the state capital even as the various civil society organizations demanded ILP in the state.

“So I think all these movements and steps that are taking place had been getting a positive respond and we have seen to a large extend that all this disturbances and tensions that’s there has come down to a large extend but there are people we are reaching out talking and trying to make sure that the right information goes to everybody,” the Chief Minister said.

On the demand by a former legislator that the state assembly need not go for a resolution to implement ILP in the state but the government needs to issue only a notification to extend it in the state, Conrad said that in the preamble of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) popularly known as ILP, it defines the areas where the act can be notified and implemented.

“The preamble has been changed in the past by the presidential notification and the recent one was done on December 11, 2019 where Manipur was added. So in that preamble until and unless the word Meghalaya is not inserted it will not be possible,” he said.

On Monday, former Nongkrem MLA, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, said that the state government can issue a notification to bring the state under ILP.

He pointed out that recently even the government of Nagaland issued a notification bringing Dimapur town within the ambit of the ILP.

Dimapur, the commercial hub of the state, was the only district that was not under the ILP regime unlike the rest of Nagaland, which came into being in 1963.

Baiaiawmoit said that a precedent has been set by Nagaland.

Reacting to this the Chief Minister said that the former MLA might be referring to an earlier act in which the preamble had Garo, Khasi, Jaintia hills in it.

“That is not there anymore so therefore that provision or option is not there anymore with the state government,” Conrad pointed out.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also said that his government will wait and see the situation in the state before lifting the ban on internet.

While admitting that the shutdown on internet is causing a lot of inconvenience to the people he requested the citizens to bear with the government so that it can ensure that the overall law and order remains safe.

On criticisms by leader of opposition of the state that the internet shutdown was a measure which shows the bankruptcy of ideas of the state government, Conrad said, “People will comment and people will say what they have to say. But my view and most important point has always been that in any eventuality we want to ensure that the people’s lives are safe and that is the priority for us.”

He also lauded the police for showing maximum restraint with protestors during the anti CAA agitation.

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