Stir to keep non-Manipuris out gathers steam in Imphal

Protesters tell non-Manipuris to shut businesses,stay indoors from June 6 to 10

Written by Esha Roy | Imphal | Published: June 11, 2013 3:32 am

AS MANIPUR Assembly gets ready for its monsoon session,the agitation for the implementation of the Inner Line Permit,which restricts “outsiders” from entering Manipur without permission,has intensified.

Business establishments in Imphal were shuttered Sunday and activists of the Joint Action Committee took to the streets demanding implementation of the permit. Their main demand is that no outsider be allowed to settle,buy property or even set up business in Manipur. The Assembly is likely to discuss the issue on Tuesday.

The JAC had last month threatened to not let non-Manipuris enter the state between June 1 and 5 and bar “outsiders” from the streets of Imphal between June 6 and 10. On June 5,the JAC ordered non-Manipuris to shutter their businesses and remain indoors for the period of the agitation. Indeed,that same day,JAC activists forced as at least 40 persons coming from Dimapur in Nagaland turn back from Sekmai in Imphal West. The JAC also issued a statement that it would allow some “outsiders” to stay in Manipur “but under proper rules”. “However,non-Manipuris allowed to settle here should not invite their relatives and friends to settle down in Manipur,” the statement added.

This happened despite chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s warning last month to the JAC to “not indulge in anti-national activity during the course of the agitation”. Singh also reminded the protesters that the assembly has passed and submitted a resolution to the central government to re-impose the Inner Line Permit. The resolution was passed in June 2012 after the JAC had intensified the agitation.

And after the June 5 incident,Singh ordered the police to act against all those involved in anti-national activities. The police promptly arrested 28 volunteers of “ILP system students section” for forcing non-Manipuris to turn back.

The protesters’ assert that Manipur must re-impose the Inner Line Permit to protect the indigenous population. “We need to limit the entry of outsiders to protect the identity of Manipuri people,” L Khomdon of the Federation of Regional Indigenous Societies,which initiated the agitation in April 2012,said.

The outfit’s chief Sapamcha Jadumani added,“According to the 2001 census,the total population of Manipur was 22,93,896. Of this,7,51,822 was the majority Meitei population. Tribal population was 6,70782 and outsider population was over 7 lakh. This means there are more outsiders in the state than tribals and there is just a 40,000 difference between Meiteis and outsiders. There is a danger of the indigenous Manipuri population being wiped out along with their culture,history and languages.”

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