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ILP and the threat perception

First off, a few facts: Inner Line Permit (ILP) system is applicable only to MiNA (Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh), but is not applicable to the state of Manipur. So, the very pertinent question arising in the minds of everyone in the state is: Why doesn’t Manipur fall under the ILP system? Because MiNA (Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh) were under the British control for a relatively longer period under the British rule till independence and so, Britishers implemented ILP system in these North Eastern states, but Manipur, being one of the few princely states to have resisted all attempts at annexation to the Indian Union till the then Maharaja Bodhachandra was coerced into signing the treacherous “Merger Agreement” under duress on 21 Sept, 1949, and so ILP wasn’t implemented here. Although, Manipur (as a princely state before independence) had created its own system of Permits/ passports but it was abolished in 1951. The people of Manipur spearheaded by the now dissolved Federation of Regional Indigenous Societies (FREINDS) are demanding the State Government as well as the Government of India to implement Inner Line Permit system (ILP) in Manipur as well. In 2012, Manipur State Assembly also passed a resolution urging Government of India, to implement the ILP system to Manipur. Now, putting aside the legalities and history for a while, it is time we all should take an objective look at the growing demand for the implementation of the ILP system. The most prominent point being raised by supporters of the system is the increasing threat perception to the overall law and order system of the already volatile society. from the standpoint of the indigenous inhabitants whose greatest concern is the threat of increasing crime and social disturbances which, unfortunately have turned out to be valid to certain extent with the migrants and non-locals in the state increasingly involving in various crimes, the push for a measure to contain and reduce such undesirable developments in the society assumes greater importance with each passing day. The increasing pressure on the people of the state for land and other limited resources, made worse by the unchecked influx of migrants have also contributed to the growing apprehension on the issue. such unregulated influx could also have far serious consequences on the law and order in the state, given the sensitive nature of the place, being geographically located at the border with Myanmar, considered one of the busiest route for international drug trafficking. Taking these points into considerations, there is definitely a need for the State Government to devise a measure to make sure only legitimate and lawful citizens enter the state. While the “Inner Line Permit” which is one of the provisions made by the British under an Act known as “Bengal Frontier Provision Act,1873” might not be feasible to be implemented in its entirety with the changed circumstances and times, the fact remains that the apprehensions and fears of the public is very much real and beginning to act out. The onus of taking stock and taking up measures to allay the public lies with the state and Central Government, lest things will get out of hand, as had happened time and again before.

Maheshwar Gurumayum

Maheshwar Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since 2013. An avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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