Thu, 03 Oct 2013 04:02:06 GMT

Special court in Meghalaya to try anti-migrant stir cases

Shillong, Oct 2 (IANS) Meghalaya is to set up a special court to try cases related to the ongoing agitation to demand the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said Wednesday.

"We have received the sanction from the Meghalaya High Court on our proposal to set up a special court which would try all those cases ," Sangma said during an interaction with editors and correspondents of various media houses at his official residence Wednesday evening.

The ILP system is meant to check influx and illegal immigration into this mountainous state.

The chief minister said the proposal was sent to the high court as the government wanted to ensure that the directives issued by the Supreme Court and the Gauhati High Court on shutdowns were adhered to.

"Everyone must be accountable to the law in any civilised society," Sangma said.

Sangma said the Supreme Court and Gauhati High Court had ruled that sponsors of shutdowns will have to compensate for the losses incurred during the shutdowns.

"The district administrations across the state have been asked to assess the losses, which have been recorded for the past one month, which would then be incorporated in a petition to be submitted before the special court," he said.

Meghalaya is experiencing a series of shutdowns, night road blockades and picketing of offices from Sep 2 after the breakdown of talks between the government and the agitating groups on the ILP issue.

Several cases of arson were reported in East and West Khasi Hill districts and more than 50 pro-ILP activists have been arrested.

Asked whether the government will offer an olive branch to the agitating groups to break the impasse, Sangma said, "Whenever there is a disagreement (between groups and government), they (groups) will agree to problems. But do you want to see Meghalaya in this kind of a situation in the next 50 years also? Provisions of law will be enforced to put an end to this."

Stating that he would be the first among the 60 legislators to say "yes" to the ILP if it was found to be tenable, the chief minister said: "We have examined the recommendations made by the high level committee on influx, which had unanimously suggested the implementation of the ILP besides other mechanisms. However, the recommendations stipulated that the legality aspect of including Garo Hills within the ambit of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 should be looked into."

ILP is an official travel document issued by the union government to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected/restricted area for a limited period.

©Indo-Asian News Service

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