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Manipur Government Launches e-ILP Platform But JCILPS Wants a Clear and Distinct Definition of “Indigenous People” First

While Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren claims that the launching of the electronic-platform for Inner Line Permit Systems known as e-ILP platform in the state will help to implement the Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) effectively in Manipur, the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) demands for a clear and distinct definition of the term ‘indigenous person’ and permanent residents of Manipur under section 3 and 8(1) of the Manipur Inner Line Permit Guidelines 2019.

On September 2, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren has launched the electronic-platform for Inner Line Permit Systems known as e-ILP platform in the state and said it will help in implementing the Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) effectively in Manipur.

Chief minister, N. Biren launching the e-ILPS portal in Imphal

The Chief Minister launched the e-ILP platform in a virtual conference in Imphal. He said that the new e-ILP platform will help in regulating the entry, exit and tracking of visitors who are staying in Manipur beyond their ILP duration.

“Happy to launched the e-ILP platform of Manipur in presence of Hon’ble Ministers, Hon’ble MLAs and Officials of the Govt. This platform will play a major role in regulating the entry, exit and tracking of visitors who are staying beyond their ILP duration,” Nongthombam Biren expressed his Facebook post.

Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren remarked that the Central government had given the approval for extending the ILPS in Manipur considering its need to safeguard the small indigenous population of the state. This e-ILP platform will be a great initiative for effective implementation of the ILPS and help safeguard the indigenous population, the Chief Minister added.

To implement the ILPS effective, Chief Minister Biren said a four member ILP monitoring team led by Deputy Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) as chairperson has been set up to ensure proper recording of persons entering and exiting Manipur with ILP and track those who have overstayed. Those who stayed beyond the permitted duration will be detected by the software and will be tracked down for taking necessary legal procedure, Biren added.

It may be mentioned that the order issued by the deputy secretary (Home) Roji Rajkumari, said, “the Governor of Manipur is pleased to constitute an ILP Monitoring Cell with the following officers to ensure proper recording of persons entering and exiting Manipur with ILPS and track those who have overstayed and take necessary action.

The order had appointed the Deputy Inspector General (Int.) as Chairperson of the ILPS Monitoring Cell, SP CID (Technical), Joint Director (IT) and Deputy Secretary (Home) as members.

All resident commissioners, Manipur Bhawans, all deputy commissioners and deputy labour commissioner shall use the e-ILP platform after its formal launching on September 2, the order added.

Chief Minister Biren urges the officials, DCs and state police to work with firm dedication to ensure smooth and effective implementation of the ILP System in the state.

The state government officials said that the e-ILP system has started working smoothly at Mao Gate, Jiribam Railway Station, Jiribam Gate and at Imphal International Airport following an order issued in the name of the Governor of Manipur on September 1.

It may be mentioned that the order dated August 29 and issued in the name of the Governor of Manipur by Deputy Secretary (Home) Roji Rajkumari directed to open an Inner Line Permit (ILP) counter or facilitation centre at Jiribam Railway Station in order to facilitate registration of ILP of both entry and exit under the Manipur Inner Line Permit Guidelines (MILPG), 2019 with immediate effect and in public interest.

The order was issued in anticipation of the reopening of Jiribam-Silchar Railway passenger line by the Central Government, stated the order signed by deputy secretary (Home) Roji Rajkumari.

The order further directed to set up exit counters at the Imphal Airport, Mao Gate and Jiribam Gate for recording exit of ILP holders from the state.

The Information and Technology department shall provide necessary equipment and infrastructure like computers, laptop, printers, scanners, furniture and others for proper functioning of the counters, it added.

However, the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) on August 29 demanded for a clear and distinct redefining of the term ‘indigenous person’ and permanent residents of Manipur under section 3 and 8(1) of the Manipur Inner Line Permit Guidelines 2019 with January 1, 1951 as the cut-off base year for identifying non-indigenous people/ outsiders/non Manipuris.

The demand was a part of its nine points memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister of Manipur on August 29 to regulate the prevailing Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 in the state of Manipur in effective ways.

The memorandum stated that indigenous peoples/ persons of Manipur means those people who have been residing since time immemorial with historical and special inalienable relationships with the land, resources and territory of Manipur with distinct cultures and traditions, and experiencing historically and rooted continued subjugation, domination and threats to their survival, livelihood and identity.

Manipur police intercepting migrants

In the meantime, any other Indian citizens who have been permanently residing and settling in Manipur since before January 1, 1951 and/or their descendants, whose names are enlisted in the National Register of Citizens of India, 1951 or in the Census of the year 1951 or else any relevant document/s like Provisional Electoral Roll of Manipur, 1950-51, shall be considered as the permanent residents of Manipur but not as Indigenous Peoples of Manipur, the JCIPS memorandum added.

JCILPS demanded that the cut-off base year for identifying non-indigenous people/outsiders/non Manipuris should be January 1, 1951 since the then chief commissioner of Manipur, Himmat Singh on November 18, 1950 abolished the former ‘Pass and Permit System’, thereby allowing the non-indigenous persons to enter in the state.

The JCILPS in the memorandum continued to assert that the abolition of the erstwhile “Pass and Permit System’ of Manipur laid the foundation for present-day demographic imbalances and marginalisation of indigenous peoples of Manipur. The population of the state has increased 4.6 times in the year 2011 as compared to the population of the year 1951 and the migrant population in Manipur has increased more than 400 times since the year 1948, it stated.

The memorandum reiterated that the records are maintained in The Census Report, 1951, The Electoral Roll of the year 1948, The Village Directory, 1951 and The National Register of Citizens, 1951.

JCILPS also demands establishment of a Population Commission in Manipur so that the actual indigenous population and non-indigenous population can be figured out distinctly as per the agreed terms and conditions reached in the agreement between the state government and the JCILPS in the past.  The State cabinet has also passed the resolution for formation of the said commission, it stated.

JCILPS also demands to strictly maintain and update the database of those persons concerning their ILPS. It shall be the duty of all the deputy commissioners of each district to strictly maintain an online monthly database of the particulars for every non-Manipuris, who have entered and exited the state and also to renew their passes, the memorandum demanded.

The memorandum stated that maintenance of online databases is necessary to ensure transparency, accountability and accessibility to the public and that the penalty for violating the Manipur Inner Line Permit Guidelines, 2019, under Sec 20, should be effectively implemented.

It shall not be lawful for any person not being a ‘Manipur people or any Central agencies/corporations/authorities/multinational company for any beneficial scheme/ projects to acquire any interest, right or title in land within the territory of Manipur without the sanction of the state government, the memorandum urged.

JCILPS also urged the state government to start all necessary formalities for establishing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) by starting all the necessary formalities.

JCILPS is also concerned about the issue of ‘Bulk Permit’ to the labours from outside the State under Section 12 (e) of MILPG-2019 and said that it is highly controversial and demanded that the required labourers should be provided with ‘Bulk Permit’ only with the prior approval of the government and that the number of such labourers does not exceed 50.

The memorandum pointed out that in the Sub-Section (g) of Sec 12 of the MILPG-2019, the authorities concerned not only take the responsibility of the labourers having no valid permits but also to take the responsibility of any crime/s committed by them.

Moreover, the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 should be additionally implemented effectively in the state, JCILPS said.

Manipur Land Reform Commission which was already agreed between the State Government and JCILPS should be established to start its functioning, the memorandum demanded.

Considering the recent developments on the implementation of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 in Manipur by the State Government and demands from the JCILPS, the State Government should study the Guidelines for the Enforcement of the Inner Line Regulation in Mizoram, 2014 and adapt to effectively implement the ILP in Manipur to protect the indigenous people of the state by redefining the “Indigenous People” of Manipur clearly. To protect the land from outsiders, the Government of Manipur should also consider the land laws of Himachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reform Act, 1972, etc restricting outsiders to buy land, and adapt to restrict the outsiders to have interest on the lands of Manipur.

Therefore, the demands of JCILPS including a clear and distinct definition of “Indigenous People” of Manipur with January 1, 1951 as cut-off year are not invalid even though the Manipur Government Launched e-ILP Platform to ensure ‘Effective Implementation’ of Inner Line Permit System in Manipur.

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