Ready to bid adieu to 2019;
Making ILPS effective
It is that time of the year and in a few days time, Manipur will join the rest of the world in bidding goodbye to 2019 and welcoming 2020. The coming of a new year infuses hope and the willingness to start life on a clean slate and this is probably the reason why the new year is always welcomed with hope and a yearning for a better tomorrow. Not exactly the time to look back, but it stands that when one looks back at 2019, the year will obviously be remembered for the Citizenship Amendment Act and the peace process between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM). To Manipur, it is the NSCN (IM) which is of utmost interest and not the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) for reasons which should be obvious to all. The final deal between New Delhi and the NSCN (IM) is likely to be inked any day soon and despite the numerous assurances from the Centre, Manipur continues to be apprehensive. Not practical to even think that the NSCN (IM) will ink the final deal without getting something for the Nagas of Manipur and it is this point which has Manipur on tenterhooks. The Centre has already said that there cannot be a Greater Nagaland or Nagalim and the natural question that follows is, what will be given in place of Nagalim. This is the question that has been doing the round and many theories have been floated with Territorial Councils for the Nagas being touted as a possible agreement. If this becomes the reality, then it would be interesting to see how Manipur respond to the arrangement. This is where people on either side of the Lim divide will need to be on their guard and not give in to rabble rousing announcements that may come from either side. The truth is, the Nagas and the other communities of Manipur will have to live together and work their way towards the future.
The other, as already pointed out here, is obviously the Citizenship Amendment Act and when one talks about this Act, one will obviously have to refer to the Inner Line Permit System which helped Manipur to fall outside the purview of the said Act. Now it remains to be seen how the ILPS will be implemented at the ground, and it is heartening to hear Chief Minister N Biren recently announcing that the ILPS will be effectively enforced at the ground level. The demand for the ILP dates back many years and in the process one young student lost his life. Remember 2015 when Churachandpur went up in flames against the three Bills passed by the State Assembly to regulate the inflow of non-locals into Manipur. That the said Bills did not receive an assent from the President is another matter, but nine people lost their lives in the uproar at Churachandpur and their mortal remains were given the final rites only after the present BJP led Government came to power in Imphal in 2017. It is against some of these facts that the ILP will need to be implemented in the State and in as much as the effectiveness of ILP will depend on the efforts of the Government, it remains that the people as a whole will need to ensure that no vacuums are created to attract non-locals into Manipur. So even as Manipur joins the rest of the world in bidding goodbye to 2019, it would do good for all to remember that ILPS was won over after a hard struggle and it is incumbent on all to make it effective.