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Manipur party memo to PM on ILP

Friday, July 8, 2011

/ Published by Simon L Infimate
Imphal, July 7(NNN): One of the oldest regional political parties in the Northeast, Manipur People’s Party (MPP), has written a memorandum to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh seeking (re)introduction of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Manipur to remedy the growing threat to demographic imbalance in the state following massive influx of outsiders.

“(T)he heavy influx of outsiders (migrants) in Manipur at an alarming scale without any restraint for the last many years has caused a severe demographic imbalance which has perturbed the minds of the indigenous people,” stated the memorandum signed by its president Dr Nimai Chand Luwang, warning that “If this trend continues unchecked and unhindered, a time will surely come at no distant date when the indigenous people of Manipur become foreigners in their won land after they are out-numbered by outsiders.”
As a remedy for such eventuality, the introduction of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Manipur has become a great necessity, it added.
According to the memorandum, out of the total population of 22, 93, 896 (2001), the number of outsiders is 7, 04, 488 where as the indigenous hill people’s population is only 6, 70, 982. “It is surprising and perturbing to know that the outsiders outnumber the hill population of Manipur. The census report of 2011 also forecasts a grave political and electoral future of Manipur in the coming years,”

Drawing the historical nature of the issue MPP said Manipur enjoyed the air of freedom for about 2000 years except between 1819-26 when it felt in the hands of the Burmese. Manipur restored her independence in 1826 and it continued till 1891 when she lost it to the British in the Anglo-Manipur War at Khongjom.

Even after the victory over Manipur the British power did not annex the Manipur kingdom but allowed it to remain as a native state under the rule of Manipuri princes, the memorandum stated.
The administration of the colonial British period very wisely gave restriction to the entry of foreigners (non-Manipuris) by devising a very effective system known as permit or passport system. Prior permission from the Durbar was made obtainable after paying certain kinds of taxes for any outsiders to visit Manipur under the system; it said, and added that the total amount received by the Foreigners Office in 1944-45 was Rs 3, 21, 310.

The MPP further reminded that the Foreigners Department that was established by a resolution of the erstwhile Durbar way back in the year 1932 to prohibit the entry of foreigners to Manipur without due permit was a very effective tool to control and regulate the unrestrained influx of non-Manipuris into the state.
However, after the merger of Manipur to India, the permit system was abolished on November 18, 1950 by an administrative order of the then chief commissioner of Manipur Himmat Singh, it rued.
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