Manipur Inner Line Permit System - what ails civil bodies?

Speaking exclusively to the 'Imphal Free Press', JCILPS convenor YK Dhiren explains the "hollow permit" as termed by civil bodies in Manipur.

 

The issuance of the Manipur Inner Line Permit (ILP) that was suspended on March 18 in view of the Coronavirus pandemic resumed on July 21 following the government order. But, several civil bodies that demanded Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) in the state for long years are unhappy about it and have been expressing concern, claiming that it is a “hollow permit”.

It was on July 4, 2012 that several civil organisations in the state came together and formed the ‘Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) in the effort to strengthen their demand for ILP implementation in the state. Responding to the demand, the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Biren Singh on December 30, 2019 gave its nod to it. Following it, the Inner Line Permit system was implemented in the state on January 1, 2020.

“But this ILP system in Manipur is like a book with only a cover. It is just for namesake and the main provision for safeguarding the indigenous population are omitted,” JCLIPS convenor YK Dhiren said, speaking exclusively to the Imphal Free Press.

The JCILPS has been demanding insertion of a special clause in the permit to define the indigenous people of Manipur and to make 1951 the base year of indigenous people. People from different indigenous groups of the state are also unsatisfied with the norms of the ILP implemented in the state, Dhiren said.

It may be recalled that on July 8, 2015 a class 11 student of Ananda Singh Higher Secondary Academy, Imphal East Sapam Robinhood succumbed to injuries after a police tear gas shell hit his left jaw during a demonstration in Imphal, demanding implementation of ILP in the state.

In September 2015, eight people were killed during a protest against three Bills passed unanimously by the Manipur Assembly on August 31 as substitutes to introducing the Inner Line Permit. The three bills are the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015.

During the protest, the house of an MP and houses of six MLAs in Churachandpur were set on fire. However, the misunderstanding was sorted out in 2018 after series of meetings with the stakeholders of the hills and valley of Manipur which was chaired by JCILPS, Dhiren said.

The JCILPS convenor said that there is no base year for indigenous people and definition for indigenous people in the ILP, the movement and demands for saving the indigenous population cannot be called ‘settled.’

As the base year of the ILP in the state is not yet announced, the government considered the non-locals settling in the state prior to 2019 as permanent residents of the state and ILP is issued to those non-locals coming only after 2019.

Asserting that the people of Manipur should understand the Centre’s policy of ruling by dividing the people in the hills and valley, Dhiren said it is not the time to remain silent, it is time to act and save the indigenous population.

Pointing out that the implementing agency of ILP in Manipur is taking the matter lightly, the JCILPS convenor said inflow of some outsiders without valid permit is the proof.

Asserting that many non-locals in the state are still staying without a valid inner line permit as there is less manpower to monitor those outsiders living with invalid permit, Dhiren said unless and until the government establishes a special monitoring cell for ILP, the police and volunteers of JCILPS alone cannot do the job effectively.

Meanwhile, as the Centre is planning to take up delimitation exercise in the state with the 2011 census as the base year to determine indigenous people of the state, many civil bodies are against it. Both the civil bodies and political parties have been demanding to conduct a new census survey by forming a new Population Commission of Manipur.

Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee president M Okendro announced that 14 political parties unanimously agreed to oppose the scheduled delimitation exercise based on the 2011 census report. Many CVOs of the state claimed that the 2001 census report is ‘not genuine,’ it is an ‘abnormal’ census so people of the state are opposing the planned delimitation process in the state.

Dhiren also said that the JCILPS will never accept the delimitation process in the state unless and until a new Manipur Population Commission is formed and it conducts a fresh census survey.

As the state is facing a critical situation amid the rising number of COVID 19 positive cases, the special secretary (Home) on July 20 passed an order for continuation of the issuance of Inner Line Permit that was halted since March when the nationwide lockdown was announced. It was opposed by many local clubs and CVOs of the state.

Soon after the announcement for resumption of ILP issuance from July 21, around 30 non-locals reportedly entered the state on July 24 and 25 after attaining ILP.

Indigenous People's Association of Kangleipak (IPAK) president Ksh Somorendo, speaking to the Imphal Free Press, said passing such order that allows outsiders into the state when the COVID 19 pandemic is spreading in the state is unfortunate.

“What is the agenda of bringing outsiders in the state when India scored the third rank in the highest rate of COVID 19 positive cases in the world and the number of positive cases of COVID 19 is rapidly increasing in the state,” questioned the IPAK president.

Chief Minister N Biren had claimed that the extension of ILP in Manipur will not only save the indigenous population of Manipur but they also will be protected from the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

According to the inner line permit of Manipur, the regulations and guidelines shall not apply to foreigners who shall be regulated and governed by the Foreigners (Protected Area) Order, 1958 made under the provision of Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950 and subsequent amendments.

Types of Permit

The Manipur Inner Line Permit, an official travel document issued by the state government, allows "inward travel" of an Indian citizen to the state for a specific time period. The permit has four types; special category, regular permit, temporary permit and bulk or labour permit.

The term for Permit

The term for special category is three years and the payment for the first instance is Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 for the second instance, for the regular permit the term is six months and the payment is Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 for each renewal, 15 days term for temporary permit and the payment is Rs 100 and Rs 200 for each renewal and for the labour permit the term is for a specific period and the payment is Rs 100 and Rs 100 for each renewal.

Issuance of the Permit  

For special category, the permit is to be issued by the Home department; for regular permit, all the deputy commissioners or any other agency authorised by the government; for temporary permit, all deputy commissioners, deputy residents commissioners or OSD of Manipur Bhawans, sub divisional officers of Jiribam, Songsong, Jessami, Singhat and Moreh, officer-in-charge of Mao, Jiribam, Jessami, Moreh, Beihang, Sinjowl, Imphal Airport police stations and any other agency authorised by the government. For the labour permit, it is to be given by the deputy labour commissioner and any other agency authorised by the government.

First Published: July 29, 2020, 5:02 p.m.