Shillong: A special court in Meghalaya has summoned top leaders of pressure groups during whose agitation for implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) three persons had died and property worth several crores of rupees was destroyed last year.

A special court headed by judicial magistrate M Rymbai yesterday summoned the president and general secretaries of at least 12 pressure groups, including the influential Khasi Students Union(KSU) and Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) for the hearing on July 8.

The damage suit was filed by the state government against the leaders of the pro-ILP groups and the special court has had two sittings in the past.

The government has incurred over Rs 31 crore as losses during bandhs, picketing and blockades sponsored by the groups that affected the normal functioning of the government and businesses, the suit said.

Besides, criminal acts like arson, violence took place during the agitation, it added.

The pro-ILP groups called bandhs and launched pickets and blockades since September 2 last year to January 15 this year to pressurise Meghalaya government to implement Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations Act, 1873 which facilitates restricted entry to outsiders into the state as in the case of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

A total 71 activists were arrested till date and 86 criminal cases were registered against them which included arson, murder, attempt to murder and other violent acts.

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