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24th anniversary of ILP movement in Manipur: Government’s failure to finalise modalities lamented


The observation was jointly organised by IPSA, ACOAMLUP, PANDM, IPAK, KANGLAMEI, KIL, CLK, and KSA.

TFM Desk

The 24th Anniversary Observance of ILP Movement in Kangleipak (Manipur) was observed on Thursday at the office of Kangleipak Students’ Association (KSA), jointly organised by IPSA, ACOAMLUP, PANDM, IPAK, KANGLAMEI, KIL, CLK, and KSA. 

The observation committee, in a release, while lamenting that the pass system has been implemented in the state for the last two years, the necessary guidelines and modalities have not been finalised yet. It urged the state government to consult experts at the earliest and implement the same. 

After Manipur became a part of India on October 15, 1949, the then chief commissioner Himat Singh revoked the existing “exit and transit permit system” on November 18, 1950. After that people from other parts of the country thronged the state, as permitted by Article 19 (1) of the Indian Constitution, the release stated. 

In an effort to drive out the “outsiders”, student bodies such as AMSU and AMSCOC began agitations in 1979-1980. Even though a memorandum of understanding was signed with the government, it was never implemented. In 1989, Poramlen Apunba, a CSO, submitted documents to implement Inner Line Permit System (ILP) in the state to the then MLA from Keirao assembly constituency, Hidam Bidur. But the then MLAs laughed at Bidur when he tried to introduce it as a private member bill and it was withdrawn subsequently, it added. 

On November 18, 1997, IPSA took up the effort and along with like minded CSOs, the Inner Line Permit Demand Committee was formed. In 2006, the committee was reformed and Sapamcha Jadumani, Yumnamcha Dillipkumar, and Heikujamcha Ibotombi Khuman, were elected as convenor, joint-convenor, and consultant respectively. On September 18, 2006, the committee submitted a representation to the prime minister of India urging to extend the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 to Manipur as in its neighbouring states like Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. 

The Federation of Regional Indigenous Society (FRIENDS), also played an important role in the movement, even knocking on the court. Several MLAs of the time including, I Hemochandra, Ibohal, Bhorot, RK Anand, N Mangi, O Joy, Kh Ratan, amongst others participated in the discussion on the matter in the Manipur Legislative Assembly. 

In 2012, the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) was formed after a meeting was held with several CSOs. 

On July 13, 2012, MLA I Ibohanbi introduced a motion to extend the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 to Manipur in the Manipur Legislative Assembly. It was passed via a voice vote unanimously. But the governor did not have his assent. Similarly, in 2013 MLA RK Anand introduce a motion to extend the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 to Manipur, or an Act under Article 19(5), in the Manipur Legislative Assembly. 

On March 13, 2015, the then chief minister O Ibobi Singh introduced “The Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers’ Bill, 2015”. It was passed on March 16 of the same year. Opposing the Bill, agitations ensued and a student, Sapam Robinhood lost his life on July 8, 2015 during a protest. 

On August 31, 2015, CM Ibobi introduced three Bills — The Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill, The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th amendment) Bill, and The Manipur Shops and Establishment (2nd amendment) Bill — and it was passed via a voice vote. But in an intense agitation at Churachandpur, nine lives were lost. While the first Bill was cancelled by the President, the remaining were not given assent. 

The release further said that after the BJP led government came to power, chief minister N Biren Singh introduced a more acceptable Bill — The Manipur People Act, 2018 — and it was passed on July 23, 2018. After the governor gave her assent, it was sent to the President for his assent. 

As the people of the state waited for the President’s assent, and just before the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, the Union Home Minister suddenly announced in the parliament on December 9, 2019, that Manipur will also become one of the ILP regime states. On December 11, 2019 it was published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, it added. 

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