Rider to be exempted from CAB:
Inner Line Permit System
Likely, it is. Take note. It is not ‘will be exempted,’ but ‘may be exempted.’ And that is States where the Inner Line Permit System is in force may be exempted from the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, as reported by a Guwahati based daily, even as protests against the said Bill has gripped the entire North East region. However even this ‘maybe’ should be more than enough to give a renewed thrust to the demand of the people, spearheaded by the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System to once again take to the streets and pressurise the State Government to spell out the exact status of the Manipur People Bill, which has been passed by the State Assembly and is awaiting Presidential assent. Or will this Bill be used as a bargaining chip to water down the strong protest that has gripped the State, ever since it became clear that the CAB has been listed for discussion in the ongoing Winter session of Parliament ? Tough to say, but be sure that this particular report has the potential to give a renewed thrust to the demand to regulate the inflow of non-locals into the State. The logic is simple. In one stroke two issues can be settled, if what the report carried by the Guwahati based daily is followed. One is obviously the Inner Line Permit System or something similar to this and the other is CAB. With the State Government now mum on the special clause rider for Manipur and the North East, this is one avenue that may be studied and it wouldn’t be surprising if MANPAC has not already picked up the gist of the report and studied its ramifications.
On the other hand, this could also mean giving a fresh push to the demand that the Meiteis be included in the Scheduled Tribe category under the Constitution of India. Once the Meiteis are categorised as tribals, it wouldn’t be such an arduous task to get the State of Manipur declared a tribal State and this can help pave the way to enforce ILPS in the State. Interesting it is to study the possibilities that the CAB may open. It is also significant to note that while some Ministers in the BJP led Government have asserted that the CAB has no provisions that can be detrimental to the interests of the State, the Chief Ministers of Meghalaya and Mizoram obviously think otherwise. It is for this very reason, why a BJP legislator in Meghalaya has deemed it fit and proper to personally write to President Ram Nath Kovind to exempt Meghalaya from CAB. No Minister from the BJP led Government has done that and this all falls in line with the stand taken by some Ministers in the Government that CAB will not adversely affect the State. How far MANPAC and the people have bought this stand is a different matter, but there is no indication that the anti-CAB stand would be softened. As stated earlier, the BJP is intent on passing the said Bill and this is something which was made clear before the Lok Sabha polls and all know the results of the election in the Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency. Perhaps this is also the ample opportunity for all to understand the power of their vote.