New Delhi: Union home minister Amit Shah said in the Lok Sabha on December 9 that the central government would extend the inner line permit (ILP) to Manipur.
In August 2018, the state assembly had passed the Manipur People’s Protection Act, thus clearing the decks for the implementation of a regime akin to the inner line permit (ILP), granted under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873. The Bill was sent to New Delhi for approval.
So far, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and most parts of Nagaland have the ILP regime under the 1873 Act, brought by the British for greater Assam and the rest of the northeastern frontier.
Implementation of the ILP regime in Manipur would enable the state to issue permits to non-residents of the state visiting it and regulate their period of stay.
In Manipur, implementation of the ILP has been a longstanding demand of the people. Various street protests had taken place in the state, particularly in the valley areas populated by the state’s majority community, the Meiteis.
Shah, arguing for the passage of the Bill during the debate in the lower house on December 9, said the Bill would not be implemented in Manipur. He then thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for agreeing to include Manipur as well under the ILP regime.
Shah said the Bill, brought in to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant citizenship to six religious groups from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, would not be implemented in the states under ILP and those areas under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
This essentially means that only Assam, barring its seven districts which come under the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council, Bodo Territorial Autonomous Council and Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, will be under the realm of the proposed amendment.
Taking a dig at the Congress which had ruled Assam for 15 years at a go till 2016, the home minister said it is his government which had set up a committee to implement the clause six of the Assam Accord signed way back in 1985. He, however, didn’t mention that the Bill would violate the core principle of the accord – the exclusive citizenship cut-off date of March 24, 1971, which, after the Bill becomes a law, would be stretched to December 31, 2014.
He also didn’t mention that clause six of the accord, which spoke of granting constitutional safeguards to ‘Assamese people’, was only meant for accepting undocumented migrants from Bangladesh till 1971 and that the Bill now aims to add undocumented Bangladeshis who entered the state between 1971 and 2014, which is outside the scope of the accord.