Twitter: @KirenRijiju

Citing the “focused attention” of the Centre as the key to resolve border issues and insurgency in the Northeastern states, Union Law and Justice Minister, Kiren Rijiju on Saturday expressed confidence that solutions to these would be found soon.

Speaking on the Centre’s role in resolving border disputes on the sidelines of a meeting at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office here, the Union minister reiterated how the consistent focus of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre was “never seen during the Congress regime”.

 

 Citing how the Centre has been mediating between Assam and Meghalaya to settle the decades-old border dispute, Rijiju stressed on the need for meetings between chief ministers of Northeastern states and the Centre.

 

 “Resolution is important but that needs to reached without resorting to violence. Sometimes, problems arise along the borders and more often than not, actions by local officers and people escalate tension. It is, therefore, a shared responsibility of the state government and the district administration to ensure peaceful negotiations in the form of formal talks,” he said.

 

 Emphasising that the “seven sister states (and Sikkim) are not enemies, therefore, we have to coexist peacefully”, he stated that the border issue is sensitive and should be handled with care.

 

Rijiju also informed that counter-insurgency efforts are afoot in Meghalaya and the Centre is closely coordinating with the state government to bring misguided youths back to the mainstream.

 

“I was also the Minister of State for Home Affairs for five years in the previous term, so I know and have dealt with the matter very closely. Most of the splinter groups and misguided youths have come back (to the mainstream). We are happy and hopeful that the few remaining ones too will soon follow suit,” he said, speaking to the press on the sidelines of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) meeting in Shillong.

 

When asked if the Centre would propose peace talks with the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) in view of the frequent IED attacks, the union minister evaded a straight answer but said that the Centre is always there to help and assist the state government in maintaining law-and-order in Meghalaya. “I think this issue will be resolved,” he said.

 

“But when it comes to larger issues such as terrorism and militancy, then there has to be a close coordination in terms of sharing of intelligence and political understanding between the Centre and the state,” he added.

 

When enquired if the people of Meghalaya can expect an announcement with regards to the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in state, Rijiju informed that the Home Affairs Ministry is looking into the matter but to make an out of turn announcement on the issue will not be appropriate.

 

“If I make an announcement here, it will not be wise because the matters which are under discussion should be dealt with very carefully,” he said.

 

The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution urging the Centre to implement ILP in 2019. Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also met the state government and other stakeholders including pro-ILP groups last year.