Shillong: A special court which has begun proceedings against 28 leaders of 14 pro-Inner Line Permit pressure groups in Meghalaya for allegedly violating the Supreme Court ruling against shutdowns has given them one month`s time for filing written statements.
The special court of first class judicial magistrate R Rymbai fixed January 7 next year for filing written statements by the leaders of the anti-government groups.
The special court has begun the hearing against 28 leaders of 14 pressure groups in a damage suit filed by Political Department Under Secretary B Khongwir.
He has stated that the government incurred Rs 31.09 crore loss during bandhs, picketing and blockades called by the pro-ILP groups since September 2 which affected the normal functioning of government and businesses.
The 14 pressure groups are demanding implementation of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations Act, 1873 which facilitates restricted entry of outsiders to the state as is the case in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
The groups include Khasi Students Union, Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People and Hynniewtrep National Youth Front.
None of the pro-ILP group leaders turned up at the hearing on the first day yesterday except for Civil Society Women Organisation President Agnes Kharshiing and General Secretary W Thabah.
They were both directed by the court to appoint a legal counsel and file a written statement on their behalf.
The Civil Society Women`s Organisation has withdrawn support to the pro-Inner Line Permit groups to fight against the government legally.