Why does Manipur require Inner Line Permit System ?

Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System, Manipur *

Rally for Inner Line Permit (ILP) by women activists of IMA Market at BT Road, Imphal :: 4th July 2012
Rally for Inner Line Permit (ILP) by women activists of IMA Market at BT Road, Imphal on 4th July 2012 :: pix - Banti Phurailatpam

1. Manipur - Introduction:

Manipur is the place where the Indian National Flag was hoisted for the first time in India on 14 April, 1944. Manipur existed as a sovereign kingdom with unbroken history from 1445 BC till 27 April, 1891. Manipur lost sovereignty to the British following the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891 to 1947. Manipur regained sovereignty on 15th August, 1947 when the British created the dominion of India and Pakistan.

But Manipur was forcibly merged to India on 15 October, 1949 after committing a series of historical blunders which are beyond the scope of international laws. These blunders totally lost the confidence of the Manipuris in the democracy and secularism of India. These blunders became the source of conflicts with the Government of India and the people of Manipur.

In this connection, the statement of G.K. Pillai, former Union Home Secretary published on 27 September, 2011 in the Telegraph (1) regarding the need to repeal the AFSPA-1958 (2) and the need to makes amends to the people of Manipur for past mistakes (3) Prime Minister or the Home Minister should apologise to the people of Manipur for the historical blunders may be referred to.

2. Inner Line Permit is not a new regulation in Manipur

In 1901, during the British period, Manipur devised a very effective system of controlling the entry of foreigners (Non-Manipuris) called the Permit or Passport system. Indians coming from other parts of India were called foreigners in the terminology of Manipur Administration. This Permit system was brought under the Foreigners Department on 1 November, 1031. If the foreigners wished to visit Manipur, they were required to take permission from the then Durbar and had to pay certain amount of taxes. This Permit or Passport System served two important purposes (1) it controlled and regulated influx of Non-Manipuris (2) it formed and important item of revenue for the state.

In 1948, the Government of India had officially approved retention of the permit system in Manipur vide Mr. G.E.D Walker, Advisor to the Governor of Assam letter No. 120147/C-26-27 dated 1 ih January, 1948. This permit system was abolished by Mr. Himmat Singh, the then Chief Commissioner on 18 November, 1950 allowing free entry, unchecked influx of outsiders from other states.

This permit system was abolished by Mr. Himmat Singh, the then Chief Commissioner on 18 November, 1950. The said permit system prohibits any foreigner to acquire or purchase land in Manipur. Although Manipur is 90% hills, the question of implementing Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation-1973 did not arise since Manipur was a princely state.

3. Adverse consequences after abolition of Permit or Pass System in Manipur

The abolition of permit system in Manipur has caused immense damage to the Manipur Society:­

The Illegal migration from across our borders has continued unabated for the last more than 60 years. The Government of Manipur has chosen to ignore illegal immigration for several decades; and it will be extremely difficult for her to resolve the 'ensuing conflict' arising out of unabated illegal immigration.

Today, we have more than 51,000 illegal Bangladeshis scattered all over the state mainly in Borobekra, Serou and hundreds of other villages. We have foreigners like Nepalis, Bangladeshis, Burmese and also non-indigenous people from other states in all major and small towns and most of the villages in the valley and hill districts occupying our lands, buildings, snatching away our jobs and eroding our economy affecting our day to day life and peaceful existence. This has caused slow transformation in our outlook, identity and culture. In the absence of a strong political will, the illegal immigration is bound to continue. The time for action is TODAY, Tomorrow, it may be too late.

We have yet to fully wake up to the demographic, economic, social and political consequences and impact in Manipur.

  1. The uncontrolled and unchecked immigration posed a great threat to the national security, demographic structure causing demographic imbalance with the prospect of the outsiders becoming a majority community in Manipur reducing the majority communities like the Meiteis and Tribals to minority in our own home land.
  2. The uncontrolled and unchecked immigration is capable of creating tensions and conflicts not only between the immigrants and the natives but also among various ethnic groups of the natives.
  3. According to 2001 Census, the population of outside migrants in Manipur was 707,488 as against the tribal population of 670,782 (UCM-2005). In Tripura, the percentage of indigenous population was 93% of the entire population in 1947. By 2001, it has been reduced to 22%. Similar trend is likely to happen in Manipur within a short time. The possibility silent demographic invasion is more with the arrival of railway lines, Tipaimukh Dam, BRTF, more recruitment of Nepalis and South Indians in the Manipur Rifles, IRB, Home Guards and large influx of military and paramilitary organizations. Even today, outsiders are found in all small towns, villages including hill districts. The Khairamband Bazar is practically controlled by outsiders.
  4. Depriving the indigenous Manipuri population of their ancestral land, jobs we are losing our ancestral land and properties at the hands of outsiders both in the valley and in the hills.
  5. Threat to the Manipuri identity and culture of the indigenous Manipuris.
  6. Threat to Manipuri language, scripts and local dialects due to ever increasing influence of Hindi as the link language and "Bazar Bhasa" in trade and commerce.
  7. Threat to survival of local labourers due to uncontrolled and unchecked influx of cheap labourers from other states and from Bangladesh.
  8. Threat to reservation quota for scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes.
  9. Deprivation of job opportunities of indigenous population.
  10. Deprivation of higher educational and Technical educational opportunities like MBBS, BDS, B.Sc. (Nursing), BE etc, of indigenous population.
  11. Deprivation of competitive posts like MCS, MPS and other high ranking posts of indigenous population.
  12. Threat to Law and Order, Public Security and Safety.
  13. Threat to survival of small ethnic tribal groups like Aimol (2643/2001), Chothe (2675/2001), Koirao (1200/2001), Koireng (1056/2001), Monsang (1634/2001), Moyon (1710/2001), Ralte (110/2001), Salhte (311/2001).
4. Why illegal migration continue unabated during the last 60 years.
  1. Absence of any system of identification, detection, registration and control of illegal immigration in Manipur.
  2. Attractions like low population density, sparse population, better economic, employment opportunities, easy means of earning and livelihood.
  3. Easy opportunity to mix with the native population due to common religion, easy means of communication.
  4. Better economic, political or religious freedom in the name of democracy.
5. What is Inner Line Permit

The Inner Line Permit is the permit system under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 where no citizen from other parts of India (outsider) are not allowed to enter the boundary of a State without a valid pass issued by a competent authority under the regulation. These passes are usually issued by the State Deputy Resident Commissioner/Deputy Commissioners/any other officer authorized by the State Government. The main objective of the Inner Line Permit system is to provide a special protection of the distinct identity and safeguard for the peaceful existence of the indigenous people of the state.

If any person so prohibited enters the such line without a pass shall be liable to conviction before a magistrate (to imprisonment of either description which may extend to one year, to fine not exceeding Rs. 1000 or to both). The pass will be issued by the competent authority and will require payment of such duties and fees as the State Government may deem proper.

Any rubber, wax, ivory or other forest product (or any book, diary, manuscript, map, picture, photograph, film, curio or article of religious or scientific interest) found in the possession of any person convicted of any offence under this Act may be confiscated to State Government by an order to be passed at the time of conviction by the Magistrate.

If the Magistrate has reason to believe that any article which if found in the possession of a person convicted under this Act would have been liable to confiscation under sub-section (l) has been acquired or wholly or partly written, made or taken by such person beyond "the Inner Line", the Magistrate after giving the person in whose possession the article is found an opportunity to show cause why an order the sub­section should not be passed in respect of the article any, unless it is proved that the article was not acquired, written, made or taken as aforesaid, order that such article be confiscated to Government.

It shall not be lawful for any person, not being the native of the district to acquire any interest in land or other product of land without sanction of the state Government.

6. Where the Inner Line Permit System is implemented?

This Inner Line Permit system is implemented in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal since the British days till date.

7. Is Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 meant only for Tribal

No. It was implemented in Kamrup. Nowgong, Lakhimpur, Sibasagar, Darrang which are inhabited by non-tribal.

8. Benefits on Inner Line Permit System to the people of Manipur
  1. Protection of land and immovable properties from outsiders. Our land immovable properties will remain intact as no outsider will be allowed to acquire or purchase land.
  2. There will be reduced unemployment problem in the state. Our youths will not be deprived of their job opportunities as the outsiders will not be eligible for recruitment to permanent posts due to want of domicile certificate.
  3. Our youths will not be deprived of higher posts like MCS, MPS as the outsiders will not be eligible for appearing in such competitive examinations due to want of domicile certificate.
  4. Our youths will not be deprived of higher education opportunities in MBBS, BDS, BE as the outsiders will not be deprived of the higher education opportunities in MBBS, BDS, BE as the outsiders will not eligible to apply due to want of domicile certificate.
  5. The indigenous Manipuris will not deprive of manual works.
  6. Only the indigenous Manipuris will become proprietors of shops and establishments and they can run the market, fix the market price and dominate in the business.
  7. The indigenous Manipuris will be elected in general and other elections as the outsiders will not be enrolled in the Electoral Roll.
  8. Only genuine candidates will be elected as the outsiders will no longer have political voice and their localities will no longer be considered as vote bank.
  9. The taxes collected from outsiders will become an important source of revenue in the state.
  10. The Inner Line Permit system will bring peace and harmony among the people and between the natives and outsiders and will reduce crimes.
  11. The Inner Line Permit system will help in protection and preservation of identity and culture of various ethnic groups in Manipur.
  12. The Inner Line Permit system will help in protection of territorial integrity of Manipur.
  13. The Inner Line Permit system will help in improving the socio-economic status of the indigenous Manipuris.
  14. The Inner Line, Permit system will help in improving the dignity and self respect of the Manipuris.
  15. The Inner Line Permit system will help in reduction in the number of outsiders in Manipur - thus reducing tension, anxiety, conflicts and improve mutual respect between Manipuris and Non-Manipuris.
  16. The Inner Line Permit system will help in prevention and control of various diseases like Dengue, Leprosy, Malaria, HIV/AIDS and STIs.
  17. The Inner Line Permit system will help in protection of small ethnic groups like Tarao, Purum, Sukte, Ralte who are facing extinction.
9. Main objective of implementing Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873

We are welcoming tourists, students, labours, businessmen to come to Manipur. But they will be required to have a pass by paying nominal fees for their identification, verification. They will not be allowed to purchase land without the concurrence of the State Government. This is required for protecting the identity, culture, lands, language and script of the indigenous people ofManipur.

10. Earlier Assurances of the Government of Manipur

On 22 July, 1980, the All Manipur Students Union (AMSU) and All Manipur Students Co-ordinating Committee (AMSCOC) signed an agreement with the Government of Manipur to initiate identification, detection of foreigners from 1st August, 1980 of all outsiders and send them back home. On 9 November, 1994, a second such agreement as signed by the AMSU with the Government of Manipur. There have a series of protests and movement for introduction of Inner Line Permit System in Manipur. The response of the state Government is quite encouraging. The matter has been under active consideration of the State Government.

11. Article 29 (Protection of Interests of minorities)

The Manipuris are minority among the minorities. The whole populations of Manipur hardly constitute 0.22% of the Indian 'population. Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same. This demand is therefore constitutional and legal.

12. Proposal

The Manipur State Cabinet has taken a decision on 12th July, 2012 to adopt the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 in Manipur. On 13th July, 2012 the Manipur State Assembly had also taken a resolution to implement the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 (Inner Line Permit System) in Manipur. The copy of the resolution was submitted to the Union Home Minister, Government ofIndia on 3rd August, 2012.

The Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System in Manipur, Palace Compound, Imphal on behalf of the people of Manipur request the Hon'ble Prime Minister, Government of India kindly to honour the decision of the Manipur State Assembly and to give concurrence to the adoption of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 ill Manipur with immediate efiect in greater public interest.

* Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System, Manipur wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on October 29, 2012.

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