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FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK:
Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Shillong to attend the 69th Plenary Session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) on January 23 ended on a sour note as regional political parties and pressure groups of Meghalaya felt that the meeting was not what they expected.
Cabinet ministers belonging to regional parties like the People’s Democratic Front (PDF), United Democratic Party (UDP) and Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) could not meet the Union Home Minister, supposedly because of his busy schedule.
Sources informed Shah was rushing to Assam to attend a public rally along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was on a visit to the poll-bound northeastern state.
Feeling dejected, the cabinet ministers and social organisations condemned the indifferent attitude of the Union Home Minister with PDF leader and cabinet minister Banteidor Lyngdoh stating that he felt insulted.
Days before Shah visited Shillong, there were talks of an announcement to be made by the Home Minister himself on the issue concerning the Inner Liner Permit (ILP).
Meghalaya Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui had earlier stated that he would be happy if Shah made an announcement concerning the ILP.
But to everyone’s utter disappointment, that was not the case, as there was a slim probability that Shah would make the announcement.
Or else why would the Centre take one entire year to decide on the resolution passed by the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly in December 2019?
If we look at it from a different perspective, Shah’s visit to Shillong was but a formality since he is the Chairman of the NEC with the minister of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER) as the Vice-Chairman, which in this case is Dr Jitendra Singh.
His only motive of coming to Shillong was to attend the NEC Plenary Session (as is procedure) and was trying as much as he could to avoid being bombarded with questions on ILP and other issues.
Probably this could also be one reason why the number of media persons allowed to cover the two-day session at NEC was restricted.
The President of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) Lambokstar Marngar had stated that the union had expected the Home Minister to at least deliver some sort of message concerning the Centre’s stand on the ILP issue.
Indeed, Marngar’s statement has left many wondering whether the Centre would implement or reject the implementation of ILP in Meghalaya.
It seems the Union Government is determined to avoid answering this question.
Being a sensitive issue for both the Centre and the state, we all know the repercussions that can arise out of one misstatement as the issue of ILP in Meghalaya is like a timebomb ready to explode anytime.