Former Nongkrem legislator launches “Safeguard the Land” revolution

Shillong, Feb 6: Former Meghalaya legislator, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit hit out at both the ruling and opposition legislators from Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills of Meghalaya for their failure to protest against repealing of the words ‘Khasi-Jaiñti’a from the preamble of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1973.

Launching a revolution known as “ïada ïa ka Ri (Safeguard the Land)” at a public rally organised by him at Student’s Field, Jaïaw on Thursday, Basaiawmoit said, “Our leaders should have protested against the Centre’s move. Now that they have repealed, do you think they would give in to the demand of the state government to implement Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya?”

Former Urban Affairs Minister, Ampareen Lyngdoh, former Khasi Student’s Union President, Michael Syiem and a host of leaders from various pressure groups attended the rally.

“We start this movement by holding consultations with all village headmen and bring all pressure groups under one banner to mount pressure on the government to implement ILP and to exempt Meghalaya from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019,” Basaiawmoit said.

Stating that Meghalaya needs constitutional provisions like Article 371 so that laws made by the Centre won’t affect and the interest of the indigenous people of the State can be protected, Basaiawmoit said, “The State has its own religious, social practices, customary law and procedure, administration of civil or criminal justice involving decisions according to customary law and ownership and transfer of land.”

He said, the State should have its own special laws which would be in accordance with the customs and practices of the indigenous people.

He also recalled how in the state Assembly he had brought a resolution and discussion on the need to implement ILP, Article 371 in the state as well as moved against the intention of the Centre to implement the then Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2016 which is now known as the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.

Accusing the Chief Minister Conrad Sangma of having some kind of understanding with Union Home Minister, Amit Shah for not implementing ILP in the state, the former Nongkrem legislator recalled the meeting held in New Delhi where Shah had asked Sangma and members of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) coalition to go to Shillong and again meet him after Christmas to discuss about the ILP, but it did not happen now when it is already the second month of the year.

He also slammed the state government over corruption issue and leakage of revenue that the state should get from mineral resources like coal and other.

“Although, Meghalaya is rich in natural beauty and mineral resources, they are being misused by certain section of people,” he alleged.

Slamming the MDA government on the alleged illegal transportation of coal, Basaiawmoit claimed, “There is illegal transportation of coal right under the nose of the police and the Transport department. Both the Home Minister (James Sangma) and Transport Minister (Sniawbhalang Dhar) should be accountable to the public.”

Moreover, he alleged that “only those in power benefits from illegal transportation of coal while the government is going around saying that the state is facing financial crunch. The revenue accrued from transportation of coal should have gone to the government’s exchequer for building infrastructure like roads, schools and hospitals. But the money went somewhere else”

Basaiawmoit also appealed to the public on the need to launch a revolution against corruption.

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