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A gathering storm?

IFP Editorial: CM N Biren Singh said that for the period from January to June 2022, a total of 3,38,742 inner line permits were issued while a total of 37,153 people were given renewed ILP certificates during the said period. But, there was no mention of the base year or of framing region-specific rules and regulations.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 31 Jul 2022, 8:04 pm

(PHOTO: IFP)
(PHOTO: IFP)

In recent times, several pressure groups are coming together with a singular focus on migration issues confronting the state. While the United Naga Council and Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) joined forces to express their commitment to fight the issue of illegal migration together, student organisations broadly based in the valley and All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM) together came out in demand for National Register of Citizens (NRC) and establishment of a State Population Commission. On the other hand, JCILPS has called for scrapping the state Cabinet decision, settling 1961 as the base year for implementation of Inner Line Permit in the state and making it 1951.

Although poles apart on certain issues, it is good that these organisations are finding common ground and working together. After a series of meetings, the conglomeration of valley based organisations the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) and United Naga Council (UNC) decides to join hands against the continuous influx of migrants in the state from neighbouring countries, particularly from Myanmar and other states of India.

ALSO READ: Seven student bodies in Manipur call for implementation of NRC

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Considering it a major reason for creating a demographic imbalance in the state and a threat to indigenous population, COCOMI and UNC has demanded the adoption of a resolution to set up the state population commission and updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in respect of the state of Manipur with a fixed cut-off base year to identify illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, the demand of JCILPS is that the base year should be 1951 as the former pass and permit system to enter Manipur was abolished on November 18, 1950 by the then Chief Commissioner.

The state Cabinet seems to have decided on 1961 as the base year in the spirit of a compromise. Before the assembly session began, Chief Minister N Biren Singh made a cryptic remark that one cannot go by the wishes of a single community and has to take into consideration the wishes of every community while clarifying on the Cabinet decision of 1961 as the base year of implementing ILP in the state. It says a lot of things. If we recall correctly, the whole valley was in flames during the ILP agitation with the people in the valley expressing their concerns of their land being swamped over by illegal migrants whose population keeps increasing day by day and year by year.

When the government brought three bills to address the issue of illegal migration, people in the hills, more particularly in Churachandpur district, rose against the three bills when they were passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly and shut off all communications with the state government for nearly three long years. It is on record that, when BJP took over the government in 2017 the indefinite blockade on national highways and Churachandpur issue was resolved.

ALSO READ: Destination Churachandpur

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It must also be remembered that the issue of illegal migration once again came to the fore after the recent detention of more than 80 Myanmar refugees in Churachandpur. These Myanmar refugees had crossed over to the Indian territory in Chandel district and from there they had come to Churachandpur district simply for the reason that there are communities in the district having close ethnic affinities with them and were welcome there.

Before their detention, they were sheltered by a Myanmar refugee who had crossed over in 1986 to Mizoram and came to Churachandpur in 2013. And this is not the first instance of Myanmar refugees migrating to Manipur. It has been going on for years and in fact, this migration was one of major concerns of the anti-foreigners movement in the 80s.

Placing the ILP report card in the assembly, the Chief Minister said that for the period from January to June 2022, a total of 3,38,742 inner line permits were issued while a total of 37,153 people were given renewed ILP certificates during the said period. But, there was no mention of the base year or of framing region-specific rules and regulations. We still do not know whether the renewed calls for NRC, Population Commission or ILP base year is a prelude to a fresh agitation or for the sake of raising it before the assembly session. Time will only tell.

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First published:

Tags:

Myanmar nationalsInner line permitCocomiILP in ManipurMyanmar refugeesNRCillegal migrationILP Base year

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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