Shillong: Meghalaya government has filed a damage suit of Rs 31 crore against pro-Inner Liner Permit activists for the damage caused to property during the month-long agitation in the state.
"We have filed a damage suit against pressure groups who are agitating for the implementation of the ILP in the state during which several persons were injured and properties damaged," a senior government official told a news agency on Sunday.
The petition, he said, was filed before a special court which was constituted to try sponsors of bandhs and blockades in violation of the Supreme Court orders.
As a counter to the pro-ILP activists who want to implement the ILP to curb influx of outsiders in the state, the state government earlier this month ordered district administrations to assess the losses incurred during the bandh, night blockades and office picketing.
The loss in East Khasi Hills district alone was assessed to be worth over Rs 21 crore apart from the arson at the warehouse of BSNL whose actual loss was yet to be ascertained, East Khasi Hills district deputy commissioner Sanjay Goyal said.
The Special Court headed by First Class Judicial
Magistrate, R Rymbai, was set up by the government to try the cases involving at least 13 anti-government pressure groups, including the influential Khasi Students Union and the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People.
While the court is yet to issue notices to the concerned parties to respond to the petition, sources in the political department said the trial could begin from next week.
Over 50 persons, most of who are NGOs leaders, have been held for their alleged involvement in the attacks during the agitation which began from September 4.
Pro-ILP activists in Meghalaya, like their counterparts in Manipur, have charged the Congress with double standard and discrimination since the ILP is in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
The Mukul Sangma government had recently brought two amendments to the Meghalaya Maintenance of Public Order (MMPO) Act which would empower the deputy commissioners to act as the Assessment Authority and also designated a Judicial Officer to try the cases under the Act.
As per the Act, the arrested persons can be imprisoned for three to seven years besides from being liable to compensate the damages incurred during the agitations.