TODAY -

Demand for Inner Line Permit in Manipur A Perspective From Darjeeling

Upendra M Pradhan *

ILP : Agitations demanding implementation ILP in Manipur in Imphal East and Imphal West  :: August 31 2015 .
Agitation demanding implementation ILP in Manipur in Imphal on August 31 2015 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



The demand for an Inner Line Permit to enter Manipur by the dominant Meitei community has snowballed into full blown political issue. However before venturing into the current Manipur situation, there is a need to understand the origins and development of the Inner Line Permit concept.

Inner Line Permit The Historic Context

The origins of ILP can be traced back to the colonial days. On 1st of November, 1873 the then British rulers enacted the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations in order to protect the interest of the British Crown in rubber, wax, tea, oil, ivory, elephant and other forest related trades against private British entrepreneurs.

The BEFR of 1873 states that the "The [Government] may, by notification in the [official Gazette], prohibit all British subjects or any class of British subjects [now replaced with "citizens of India or any class of such citizens"] or any persons residing in or passing through such districts from going from beyond such line without a pass under the hand and seal of the chief executive officer of such district or of such other officer as he may authorize to grant such pass; and the [Government] may, from time to time, cancel or vary such prohibition." [Details: http://bit.ly/1X2XLt6]

ILP which was designed by the British to protect their commercial interests were continued to be used by the government of India to keep the people under such places as described in the original 1873 BEFR Act happy. After Independence north-East India has continued to simmer with separatist movements and with China right next door continuing to pose as a grave threat, the Government of India used ILP to restrict the flow of people into those areas that they feared would be threatened due to influx of outsiders.

CURRENT PROTECTIVE REGIMES

Currently Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram are covered under the ILP regime which requires Indian citizens from outside these states to get a permit to enter the state for a duration ranging from 15 days to 6 months for temporary visits and up to 1 year for those who go to work there.

In addition to the states that are covered under the Inner Line Permit regime, various other places in other states such as Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Manipur, Andaman and Nicobar Islands etc require Protected Area Permit (PAP) and Restricted Area Permit (RAP), which require both the foreigners and Indian citizens from outside these states, special permit to visit these places. [Details: http://bit.ly/1N3gFwV]

Other than these permit requirements, almost all of the North Eastern states, as well as other mountain regions such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir prohibit outsiders from buying and selling land in their respective states. This is done to "safeguard local mountain communities from rich land-grabbers" from the cities. In fact, Darjeeling is the ONLY mountain region in India, where local interests are not protected and anyone from the actor Govinda to international investors are freely allowed to buy and sell land.

On top of all this, another form of protection is also provided to lands owned by SCs and STs across India, in that no SC or ST land can be bought or sold by anyone other than people belonging to the SC or ST communities, and only if no SC or ST buyers show interest, can people from other categories can purchase such a land

Romanticizing Ilps

However, the idea of ILP is sold to the rest of the country as being a protective measure to ensure "safeguarding the indigenous people from inundation of eternal migrant and immigrant communities."

This idea does carry some merit, as, if you look at the demographic shifts then indigenous people in Tripura were overrun by immigrant Bengalis and the natives are now a minority in their own land. Similarly parts of Assam and almost all the Border regions of West Bengal, including the foothills of Darjeeling district has seen massive raise in population due to Bangladeshi refuges as well as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants flooding into these areas, whereas, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal have remained more or less safe from these immigrants.

Distinguishing "Gorkhalis" And "Nepali" Immigrants

In terms of migrants and immigrants, it is well acknowledged that due to the open border policy shared between India and Nepal, people from both the nations have emigrated from one nation to the other.

While immigration has continued freely post Independence, what majority of the people in India fail to realize is that prior to the British invading various parts of India, Nepalis were already living in across the length and breadth of India. Places like Darjeeling, parts of Sikkim, Kangra, and Garhwal were actually parts of Nepal until 1816 when these tracts of lands were handed over to the British. The land which were usurped by the British also contained a healthy population of Indigenous Nepali speaking population today these people who did not cross the border, but for whom the borders crossed them back in 1816, are recognized as GORKHAS in the Indian context.

The term "Gorkha" is used in India to identify the Indian citizens of Nepali ethnicity including the indigenous Lepchas and Bhutias (in the Darjeeling and Sikkim context), from the citizens of Nepal who are referred to as "Nepalese."

Treaty Blues

Due to Indo- Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 1950 (INFT) the term "illegal immigrants" does not apply to people from Nepal entering India or Indian citizens entering Nepal. Every Indian citizen who moves to Nepal or every Nepali who moves to India does so legally and is protected by the INFT of 1950.

Article 6 and 7 of the INFT 1950 state the following

Article 6: Each Government undertakes, in token of the neighborly friendship between India and Nepal, to give to the nationals of the other, in its territory, national treatment with regard to participation in industrial and economic development of such territory and to the grant of concessions and contracts, relating to such development. Article 7: The Governments of India and Nepal agree to grant, on a reciprocal basis, to the nationals of one country in the territories of the other the same privileges in the matter of residence, ownership of property, participation in trade and commerce, movement and other privileges of a similar nature.

Sadly it is these two clauses which were written to safeguard citizens from India and Nepal in each other's country, which creates misunderstanding and problem for Indian Gorkhas.

Most of the people across India naturally assume that all "Nepalis" are from Nepal, and start calling us "foreigners," "immigrants," and "outsiders" in various parts of India, and particularly so whenever we have demanded our rights to a separate state Gorkhaland here in Darjeeling.

Manipur Gorkhas

The Gorkhas in Manipur share a glorious history, while there were scattered population of Gorkhalis living in Manipur, formally the Gorkhas became a part of Manipur history when Raja Gambhir Singh recruited Gorkha soldiers to defend Manipur from Burmese intruders in 1824.

As history is our witness, the 1st Gorkhali freedom fighter Subedar Niranjan Chhetri defended Manipur under the revolutionary Manipuri hero Jubraj Tekendrajit Singh and was summarily hanged by the British in 1891. His last words were, "my birthplace is my Motherland, I am ready to die for this land, and I am ready to kill for this land... but I am not ready to accept surrender and subjugation of my own land." The account of his valour and that of his fellow soldiers both Manipuri and Gorkhas is widely celebrated in the history of the region.

Recollecting other significant phases in Gorkha history in Manipur, Mr. Dinesh Sharma writes, "Govt of Manipur decided to shift the Gorkhali/Nepali Gwalla to the northern part of the Manipur Valley creating a Gorkha/Nepali reserve (18 miles long) in between Sekmai and Kangpokpi in 1915 and later on partially extended up to Maram, Siddim Pukhri and lrang Part-I & II (Source: Manipur State Administrative Report 1915-16 Chapter V, No. 2 Para V. Durbar Resolution 1 dated 17th February 1915)." [Details: http://on.fb.me/1Ug7ltT]

Since then, Gorkhalis have lived peacefully in Manipur and have contributed towards the growth, progress and development of Manipur, like every other Manipuri. Majority of whom settled in hill tracts and remote villages, where they minded their own cattle and indulged in farming as their mains source of livelihood generation.

However time and again the "Gorkhas" have been subjugated to humiliation and discrimination, and derogatory terms such as "outsiders," "foreigner," "immigrants" are regularly used in reference to them.

Racism in the form of "Bhumiputra" movement caused around 100,000 Gorkhalis to leave their ancestral lands from various parts of North East India between 1977 and 1983, including around 20000-30000 from Manipur due to the "Metop-Meeyancha Tanthokadabani (meetop means foreigner and Meeyancha means outsiders from India, go back)" movement of 1980s.

This was one of the main drivers of Gorkhaland agitation, as the Gorkhalis in Darjeeling feared that we would also be treated in the same manner if we did not act to protect our own rights.

Inner Line Permit In Manipur

Currently there is no Inner Line Permit system in Manipur as it was never under the British rule and Manipur only became a part of India in 1949. So many Manipuris contend that they cannot adhere to the Indian constitution as they were not part of the deliberations process when the constitution was framed. Hence, they feel that ILP needs to be implemented in Manipur to protect the "indigenous" people from influx of migrants and immigrants.

The old demand for Inner Line Permit in Manipur got new lease of life when the 2011 census data came out, and according to K.H. Ratan, convenor-in-charge of the Joint Committee on ILPS (JCILPS) said, "the population of Manipur is a little over 27 lakh (2,721,756), of this, only 17 lakh (1.7 million) are indigenous people and 10 lakh (one million) people are outsiders." Here outsiders refer to mean "those people whose roots are outside of Manipur" and it includes the Gorkhas who are 60,000 or so in number.

So the agitators are demanding that Inner Line Permit be set and that the cut off year of 1949 be set in place, with anyone who is not registered as of 1949 be declared as an "outsider."

While the Meitei community from the valley are supporting this demand, the hill tribes who constitute around 30% of Manipuri population, are opposed to the demand on the grounds that their views were neither sought, nor welcomed by the majority Meitei community.

Constitution The Highest Authority

In a democratic country like India, the Constitution alone holds the highest power, and even though to demand various demands is one's rights, but it has to be situated within the ambit of our constitution.

In terms of citizenship our Constitution is clear on who is an Indian, it reads:
o "Citizenship by birth.-
o (1) Except as provided in sub-section
(2), every person born in India,-
(a) on or after the 26th day of January,1950, but before the 1st day of July, 1987;
(b) on or after the 1st day of July, 1987, but before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003 and either of whose parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth;
(c) on or after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, where-
(i) both of his parents are citizens of India; or
(ii) one of whose parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth, shall be a citizen of India by birth." [Details: http://bit.ly/1Fam2T8]

Our constitution clearly states who is an Indian citizen and who is not, and no two citizens of the same country can be treated differently.

The current demand for setting 1949, some say 1951 (1st census of Independent India), some say 1972 (when Manipur was made a state) is too arbitrary and will lead to levelling of one section or the other of Indian people as "outsiders," and that should not be permissible.

Inner Line Permit The Way Forward

Having suffered the pangs of illegal Bangladeshi immigration diluting our original population in the Siliguri, Dooars and Terai region and rendering us a minority in our own land, as an individual, my conscience does not permit me to oppose the demand for Inner Line Permit raised by the certain sections of the Manipuri community.

However, as an Indian, I cannot support anything that goes against the spirit of our constitution. To demand an arbitrary date to set as a cut off year or day on who will or who will not qualify to be counted as a person of Manipuri origin, will go against the spirit of the Indian constitution. There are genuine concerns that such arbitrary setting up of dates will also make room for nefarious elements with their own political and personal axes to grind, to victimize one community or the other.

Personally I feel that it will be prudent if the Inner Liner Permit when enacted should use the cut off date set as the day when such a law would come into be imposed. This will ensure that no one who is today a part of Manipur is left out, and this will also ensure that those who are a part of Manipur today will be protected for all such times to come.

Unity Inside And Outside Manipur

It is said that for every Manipuri who lives in Manipur, at least two live outside. Whenever Manipuris have been a victim of Racism elsewhere in India, we the Gorkhas have always spoken out and stood by our friends from Manipur, as we know how much it hurts when one is subjected to racist humiliation.

Manipur has been one of the greatest civilizations in the South Asian region, and it adopted democracy even before India formally did. So I appeal to all the Manipuri people, to protect and uphold the glorious history and rich legacy of your ancestors, and embrace the highest ideals of democracy by treating the minorities amongst you as one of your own.

For in unity lies our strength.


* Upendra M Pradhan wrote this article for e-pao.net
Upendra writes the column "Voice of Darjeeling" for www.darjeelingtimes.com and can be contacted at pradhanum(aT)gmail(doT)com
This article was posted on September 2, 2015.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Marangwon at @Mt Khorung #3 : Gallery
  • Police Day Marathon #1: Gallery
  • I call it life :: Poem
  • International day for Disaster reduction
  • Contested territorial demands in Manipur
  • WhatsApp & mobile usage study results
  • Physics Programme in Nowgong College
  • Rejoinder to NDPP [15 October]
  • Stop bluffing Nagas
  • The state of the states
  • Gearing up for Oct 31 rally
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #4
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #2: Gallery
  • X-Jam -Extreme Sports & Music festival
  • Urban Local Govt in Mizoram :: Book
  • 3 perspectives in context of present Manipur
  • Figures in the Shadows :: Poem
  • To UNC, Zomi Council, Hmar Inpui on ST
  • HC acted in good faith for MU
  • Jarnail Singh @ MU : Gallery
  • Chawailokpa, Chaong, Charaibi :: eMing
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • The undeniable subtlety of Atingkok
  • Kuki Black Day: desperation to Nagas #1
  • Let me shower moonlight :: Poem
  • On allegations issued by NPF : NDPP
  • Challenges to the digital dreams
  • Eyes now on K Yugindro
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #3: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #2 : Gallery
  • Meetei Tribe wont grab land of Hill Tribes
  • Making a tangible difference
  • Contradicted journey of IPC Section 377
  • Free open defecation & open pee
  • Act East & Importance of Myanmar & NE
  • Vacancies at Multimind Software
  • Waiting for "Sorry"
  • Out Yugindro in Jarnail Singh
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #1 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Management Convergence at Mizoram Univ
  • Observation of World Mental Health Day
  • Cry of a Dying River - 49 :: Poem
  • Buddhism is free from compulsion...
  • 7th AGM / Cultural evening of AMAND, Pune
  • Forsaken farmers - food for thought
  • Second police raid at MU
  • NESO opposes Indo-Nepal Treaty in NE
  • British Council, NEC sign MoU
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #1: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #1 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919
  • University :: Poem
  • Remembering class boycott 2009-2010
  • Hair stylist as career option #2
  • Training of Trainers on Gender Justice
  • Manipur University fresh violence by police
  • MU Crisis- admissions and omissions
  • Issues besetting State before LS polls
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba #2 : Gallery
  • Sizo Festival @Saikot : Gallery
  • Opening of Moreh-Tamu Border Gate
  • Forest Cover of Nagaland :: Book Review
  • Ingocha Chingtham: Cycling from Mumbai ..
  • Blood Transfusion service- future in Manipur
  • IT Enabled Employment Generating Course
  • NDPP condemns statement of NPF
  • Beyond the reality
  • Need for MUTA to approach Court
  • Kang Tournament @Kongba #2: Gallery
  • Elangbam Sonamani : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Celebrating the rights of wildlife- Are we
  • The sky's gone wonderful :: Poem
  • Communal Harmony and Integration
  • Opportunity for India in Indo-Pacific Region
  • To be a good man
  • Education : Why no private players here ?
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • MN Singh promoted as IG of CBI felicitated
  • Loktak from different perspectives #2
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • The Journey of Happiness :: Poem
  • A personal discourse of Manipuri people
  • Improper use of loud speakers in Manipur
  • Art Exhibition @Art College #3: Gallery
  • Sudip Kongbrailatpam -recording engineer
  • Dismantled 9th times & safer in 10th times
  • Remembering Irawat: Are we following ..
  • State Level Archery Championship 2018
  • Stop religious encroachment at Kangla
  • Navratri (festival) make up
  • khongjang changsinnaba sem sarey : ST
  • MU crisis: Emerging questions
  • Lining up five days blockade
  • Dhol Chollom @Sangai Fest: Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #2
  • Maroi napakpi in Manipuri dishes
  • National Integration Tour Team
  • Cry of a Dying River - 48 :: Poem
  • Ending antimicobial resistance to #endTB
  • Condoles death of Pu Kaikhokam Kipgen
  • Rejoinder to NDPP (5th Oct) : NPF
  • Responsibility required - not restriction
  • After Thuingaleng Muivah who ?
  • Paddy dry up due to deficit rainfall
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #2: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram : RAW in WAR Award
  • Agribusiness & Carbon Management : Book
  • Is Gandhi (ian) relevant today ?
  • Guidelines for Hostels for Children
  • ATM based frauds : Router compromise
  • 'Rio's announcement as just mockery'
  • Training Program on Mushroom Cultivation
  • 'Chadong' - the victim of development
  • Poles apart : Pandey and Singh
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #2
  • Why has Egg become Danger for Manipur?
  • Speech by Atif Anik on Irabot Day 2018
  • Wounded tree :: Poem
  • Hair stylist as career option
  • Synopsis of Sizo Festival 2018
  • Traffic regulation still a Flop show
  • In the evening of his life : Th Muivah
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba : Gallery
  • World Bamboo Day #2: Gallery
  • Where have all the lights gone ?
  • Mahatma and non-violence
  • Detention of students/professors of MU
  • Gandhi Jayenti at Itanagar
  • IBSD cleans Imphal City
  • MU: Abide by wisdom of Sr citizens
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Power of humility
  • Ghost of Pandey : Four teachers suspended
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #1: Gallery
  • October Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Looking at Loktak from perspectives #1
  • Morning - a Haiku :: Poem
  • R&V Art House curates 'Land of Polo'
  • Show for football fans at NEUFC Fan Park
  • Indigenous People: Stand against Fascist
  • Clarification on Tamei Residential School
  • Organic Farming Tour to Sikkim
  • System error- or is this real democracy
  • Autonomy for Naga- Stakeholders on board
  • Th. Muivah hospitalized
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #1: Gallery
  • Choidev Chongba @Kang Fest : Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #1
  • The day after Sahnit-Ni
  • Cry of a Dying River - 47 :: Poem
  • Observation of World Alzheimer's Day
  • Benefits of almond oil for the hair
  • NEUFC Fan to host musical performances
  • ..but Irabot may still shed tears in heaven
  • Heikru Hidongba #2 : Gallery
  • Lamyanba Hijam Irabot :: Read all about
  • Tingmila Doungel : Manipuri Boxer
  • Tarpon: Annual offerings to dead by living
  • Manipur: Past & Present (Vol.2) :: Book
  • Genesis of Naga-Kuki clash in early nineties
  • 9th Children's Cultural Meet 2018
  • Parakram Diwas : 2nd Anniversary
  • International Visitors Leadership Program
  • He calls state Govt as unrecognized..
  • Tough stand of Govt noted
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #3
  • MU: General Srtike [27 Sep] #2 :: Gallery
  • Tribute to Oja Nandiram with 'In Memoriam'
  • The resurgence of Hijam Irabot
  • Love for post of MU vice-chancellor
  • Condemns arrests of MU student/teachers
  • Spot Enquiry by MCPCR Team
  • Seriousness with sincerity matters
  • 48 hours bandh on, then what ?
  • MU: General Srtike [27 Sep] #1 :: Gallery
  • Hijam Irabot - Our 'Icon of Revolution'
  • Food preparation among Zeliangrong
  • Is it the final countdown to #endTB?
  • Let's give time a chance :: Poem
  • If Buddhism Is Not A Religion Or Philosophy
  • Using false identity to mislead
  • In response to CM's appeal
  • CM's call against bandh
  • MU: Hunger Strike[25 Sep] :: Gallery
  • Irabot's letter to Assembly :: 18 Oct 1948
  • SC Case on Killings Must be Complied
  • How we lost internal autonomy: Mountbatten
  • The flute player :: Poem
  • Biodiversity for Everyone's Life : Video
  • DU protest against attack on MU Community
  • Unfolding dirtiest of the dirty game
  • Net down since September 21
  • MU: Students protest[25 Sep] :: Gallery
  • Art Exhibition by R & V Art House
  • My name is Kom, Mary Kom - II
  • Electrology as career option
  • When Autumn Came :: Poem
  • Against 48 hrs bandh: Thadou Students
  • Leadership / Media seminar at Dimapur
  • Demise of a dream
  • Traffic menace: Ring road, flyover promise
  • Ringui Village, Ukhrul :: Gallery: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Autonomy on a leash
  • Manipur: Past & Present (Vol.1) :: Book
  • World Bamboo Day #1: Gallery
  • 45th AMWJU Foundation day : Gallery
  • Lai Lik Lei & their debut "Esei"
  • Tuilha Kol waterfall #2: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Rally against Mob Lynching #2: Gallery
  • Krishna Janma @Mahabali #2 : Gallery
  • Felicitation of Sportsperson: Gallery
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #3: Gallery
  • Kuki Black Day @CCpur : Gallery
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Jangou Rah : eRang Classic
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS