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Centre rejects Manipur's bid to impose Inner Line Permit

July 17, 2012 17:27 IST

The Centre is reported to have turned down the Manipur government's demand for the introduction of the provision of Inner Line Permit system to restrict entry of outsiders in the state under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has already intimated the Manipur government about the Centre's opposition to the ILP, as "there is no provision for the introduction of ILP in Manipur."

The Centre, instead, asked the Ibobi government to defuse the crisis and keep strict vigil on the non-Manipuri people who are engaged in different low paid trades.

Last year, several non-Manipuri residents, mainly from Bihar, were killed by rebels belonging to the Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak who have been demanding the ouster of all non-Manipuris from the state.

The state government had to open relief camps for the displaced non-Manipuri residents besides strengthening the security for their family members.

Even social organisations openly condemned the killing of non-Manipuri traders and daily labourers by the extremists.

However, this time the situation is different.

Various social organisations, including students and women groups, are up in arms against the non-Manipuri people settled in Manipur and engaged in different trades.

72 year-old social activist K B Sharma went on fast while the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit led by Sapamcha Jadumani launched a relentless campaign forcing the state assembly on July 13 to pass a Private Member Bill on the introduction of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873 provisions in Manipur.

The JCILP, which is spearheading the movement, has set November 18 as the deadline for the introduction of the ILP in Manipur.

Jadumani states that "ILP does not need Centre's clearance".

The JCILP has warned that 'if the ILP was not introduced by November 18, there will be massive movement in the state'.

"We don't wish to become minority in our homeland," the organisation said.

This Inner Line Permit system under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873 was introduced long ago in Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. The aim was to ensure that ethnic tribes of these three states could maintain their distinct identity and at the same time promote their culture and tradition.

Even an Indian citizen, who belongs to any other state, has to apply for Inner Line Permit for visiting those states.

The introduction of Inner Line Permit was never considered for Manipur, being a multi-ethnic state. In fact, some state governments in the region believe that the ILP system is hampering the prospects of tourism in the region.

Meghalaya government opposed the introduction of ILP, but at the same time introduced steps to tighten work permit and trade licence for 'outsiders'.

The Manipur cabinet also recommended the introduction of the ILP system in the state to check the entry of "Bangladeshi and Myanmarese nationals".

Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh is reported to have clarified that his government would take a series of steps to effectively check the entry of 'Bangladeshi and Myanmarese citizens' in Manipur.

Intelligence sources confirmed that seven underground outfits, including PLA, PREPAK and KYKL, who formed a coordination committee just on the eve of the last assembly elections in the state, are now 'sponsoring' the movement against the 'outsiders'.

Madhumita Chakraborty