Manipur Deserves Implementation of 'Inner Line Permit System' (ILPS)
- Part 2 -

Hareshwar Goshwami *

ILP : 12 Hours General Strike and ILP protest in Imphal  :: July 16 2015
ILP : 12 Hours General Strike and ILP protest in Imphal on July 16 2015 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam

Thus, the said Regulation and the Order divided India into two i.e. Inner India and Outer India. The region beyond Inner India is 'Protected Area'. A 'Protected Area' is a place where 'Foreigners' (Protected Areas) Order, 1958' is enforced for foreigners. If a foreigner intends to visit beyond the 'Inner Line' the foreigner has to obtain 'Protected Area Permit' (PAP) from the authorized functionaries of the Government of India.

On the other hand, the 'Inner Line Permit System' under 'Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873' is applied to the rest of the Indians visiting the States/areas lying beyond the 'Inner Line' by enacting separate rules or procedures by the concerned States. It is indicative that the 'Protected Area' is protected both from the foreigners and as well as the 'other Indians'.

Hence it is a general notion that both 'Protected Area Permit' (PAP) and 'Inner Line Permit System' (ILPS) go side by side in the same States in North-east India. This notion can be seen from an uploaded article by Wikipedia which reads as, "The Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958 states that a Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required for non-Indian citizens to visit certain areas in India (mainly in the North-East). Certain requirements have to be fulfilled in order to get this permit. Indian citizens who are not resident in these areas need an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter these places."

But, the irony is, Manipur is 'protected' from the foreigners under Foreigners' (Protected Areas) Order, 1958' but not from the 'other Indians' under 'Inner Line Permit System (ILPS)' unlike in the case of Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. These States are 'protected' from both the foreigners as well as the 'other Indians'. Then, why Manipur remain exceptional despite of the burning demand of the people to implement the 'Inner Line Permit System' (ILPS)?

The 'Inner Line Permit':

After India's independence 'Inner Line Permit System' (ILPS) was continued/implemented in some particular States situated in the North-east India (The ILPS earlier applied in Leh in J&K is now taken out). As stated above, the 'System' is purely a progeny from the existing 'Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873'.

Thus, the 'Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873', although enacted during the time of the then Governor General Lord Northbrook (1872 1876) is not yet repealed and presently in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram. The 'Inner Line Permit' (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the State Deputy Resident Commissioners / Deputy Commissioners / any other officer authorized by the State Government to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area falling beyond the 'Inner line' for a limited period.

It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain permit for entering into these protected areas or States. The document may be treated as an effort by the Government to regulate movement to certain areas located near the International border of India. The reason could be others too, as stated in the eighty third Amendment of the Indian Constitution with regards to implementation of 'Inner Line Permit System' in Arunachal Pradesh. As also stated above, these States formulate its own rules and procedures to suit the conditions of their States while enforcing the 'Inner Line Permit System' (ILPS).

Why Manipur Deserves 'Inner Line Permit System' (ILPS):

Because, the State of Manipur lies beyond the 'Inner line' as defined and described both in the 'Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873' and 'Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958'. The 'Inner Line Permit System' is primarily meant for the states/areas lying beyond the 'Inner Line', with primary objective of safeguarding the interest of indigenous people who could be a tribal or not. (No doubt there could be hidden agenda of the Government of India for keeping these sensitive border areas from intermingling with foreigners and 'other Indians').

Because, the 'Foreigner's (Protected Areas) Order, 1958' is still in force in Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and some other border states, though exempted temporarily from time to time. However, the temporary exemption of the order from these States does not amount to repeal the 'Inner Line Permit System' from Mizoram and Nagaland. As such, temporary exemption of 'Foreigners (Protected Area) Order 1958' will not be criteria for not considering implementation of 'Inner Line Permit System' in Manipur.

Because, the 'Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873' is meant for the areas lying on the eastern frontier of the then Bengal. The whole State of Manipur lies beyond the 'Inner Line' defined in both the 'Regulation' and the 'Order'. As such, Manipur well deserves to implement the 'Inner Line Permit System' (ILPS).

Because, the Central Government concedes or not objected to the adoption of 'Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873' to the States of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh situated outside the 'Inner Line' except for some area of railway colony, Dimapur in Nagaland which lies inside the 'Inner Line'.

Because, 'Protected Area Permit' (PAP) system generally goes side by side with 'Inner Line Permit System' for the areas/States lying on the eastern frontier of the then Bengal as done in the case of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. It is strange that, PAP is enforced in Manipur whereas 'Inner Line Permit System' is not. As stated above, PAP is for the foreigners whereas ILPS is for the 'other Indians' living beyond the 'Protected Areas' where 'Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958' is in force.

Because, some sort of 'Passport' or 'Permit' system was already enforced in Manipur up to 1950. The earlier 'Permit' system was abolished by an act of the then Chief Commissioner of Manipur who is now upgraded to the level of Governor; not by an Act of Parliament. As such, it can be re-introduced/implemented by adopting 'Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873' in the form of 'Inner Line Permit System'.

Because, it is the desire of the people of Manipur to implement the 'Inner Line Permit System' ('Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873') by formulating suitable rules and procedures as quickly as possible to avoid extinction of the indigenous people of Manipur from demographic genocide. Because, Indian Constitution is amended more than one hundred times to suit the desire of the people of India and still amendable if necessary.

Lastly because, the people of Manipur will not rest till the implementation of 'Inner Line Permit System' (ILPS) in Manipur, as it is the question of life and death of the people of Manipur, whatever the consequence may be.

In view of the above, I would like to conclude with only three basic points

1. Implementation of ILPS is a must for saving us from extinction.

2. ILPS is implementable in Manipur as it is done in our neighboring States of Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

3. The only way to achieve the demand for implementation of ILPS is non-stop agitation.

What to say more? Let the administrators and law makers think and act how to implement it. They should not play the tricky and outdated game of 'the ball is in your court', making the people oblige and responsible for the next move. Such devices may be disastrous for them.


* Hareshwar Goshwami wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on August 02, 2015.

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