ILPS did not come on a platter Stand of JCILPS
There is a reason why the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System continues to make news and this is where the Government would need to wisen up to this fact. After the Government of India decided to extend the Inner Line Permit System to Manipur in December 2019, ideally the JCILPS should have taken the back seat and ‘retired’ from public life. Thanks to the questionable manner in which ILPS has been enforced in the State, it continues to make news, the latest being its ‘suggestion’ to the Government to check the labourers being brought in by construction firms. And obviously the construction firms must be all from outside the State and the Government must be the chief entity to hire their service. The question is, are the different construction firms properly and minutely briefed on the fact that the Inner Line Permit System is in force in Manipur and it was won after a series of intense agitation from the people ? The ILPS may have been extended to shield the State from the coverage of the Citizenship Amendment Act, but all will obviously remember the days of street protests that preceded its extension to the soil of the State that even claimed the life of a student in police action. Take the days of protest against the then proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill, before Manipur was exempted from the Bill by virtue of coming under the ILP and clearly everyone, more particularly the Government at Imphal must be aware of the fact that ILPS was not gifted to Manipur on a platter. It came after days of street protests, with even tuition classes of the young students being suspended coupled with the days of protest against the proposed CAB which has now become CAA. It is against this reality that ILPS was extended to Manipur and herein lies the duty of everyone, particularly the Government, to ensure that it is implemented and enforced strictly. This is all that more so given the fact that at least two persons from Bangladesh were detected in the last couple of days. They may have entered the State before ILPS was extended here but they may just be the proverbial tip of the iceberg with many more living incognito here. Put the real possibility of incursion from across Myanmar and this is where it becomes incumbent on the part of the Government to enforce ILP strictly and effectively.
When one talks about the JCILPS the central subject is illegal entry of non-locals and outsiders into the State. That Manipur has a very strong pull factor is a given and it is but natural for numerous non-locals to make their way into the State. This is also where it becomes important to question why construction firms need to hire or bring in labourers from outside the State ? Why are the local people creating this vacuum ? A question which has been raised many times in this column and it seems not much thought has been given on how stop creating vacuums for others to rush in and fill up. Or is it a question of Manipur not facing any unemployment issue ? Time to think over this question sincerely. It was only some time back that reports of quite a large number of people from Myanmar being detected at Churachandpur made it to the pages of all the newspapers published from Imphal. Call it the shortcomings of the media here but today no one seems to know what has happened to the Myanmarese. What steps has the Government mulled over to tackle the distinctly possible inflow of refugees from across the border ? Not much has been forthcoming on this from the side of the Government, but remember Mizoram has been able to keep a head count of the refugees coming in from Myanmar simply because they have acknowledged their entry there and have opened designated camps which can help the Government to keep a tab on the movement of the Myanmarese. So far the Government at Imphal has not taken up any such steps, but to think that Manipur would be free from human incursion from the across the international border would border on being overly optimistic.