Well, before we enter into fruitful discussion about ILP system in Manipur, let’s have a look in the background of the ILP and what it says. But let me clear something before you react fiercely on my write up. I am not a protagonist of any sect of people/politician/NGOs but a free thinking individual who is sharing his own personal opinion. If you do not have closed mind, only then you can feel the essence of this kind of discussion.
Inner Line Permit is a legacy of British Raj in India. This system was implemented in some area of British India under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873. Some area was designated as inner area under the inner line where British had the complete sovereignty. Outside inner line, there was outer line and the area in between inner line and outer line act as buffer and non-administered area by British Raj. Tribal inhabitants used to have their own rules. At the later stage, this outer line had become the boundary between states and international boundary. Similar kind of system was there in the Afghanistan/Pakistan area.
Inner Line Permit is the official approved documents or permit by the government for outsiders to enter the area under ILP provisions for limited duration. Outsiders are not allowed to purchase or acquire landed properties. This system is inline with the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873. Currently Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland have ILP system.
Manipur was never under the umbrella of this ILP system. Manipur was an independent kingdom till 1891 and in 1901, there started a similar kind of permit system in Manipur to preserve the unique identity and culture of Manipur and also it served the purpose of income generation for the king.
Manipur was accessioned on 11 August, 1947 and the permit system was abolished in 1950. After almost 30 years, some group of people in Manipur thought that there is still requirement for such kind of system and there were agreement between AMSU and governing Chief Minister in 1980 and 1994. But the government failed to take up the issue.
Now the big question mark to all is: DO WE REALLY NEED ILP system in MANIPUR?
With my sagacity, I could able to think under following major points only. We can discuss the apprehension of not having ILP or implication of having ILP under 1) Politico-Economic and 2) Socio-Cultural
Politico-Economic: Some people in Manipur now demanding ILP system because they think that the influence of outsiders in the political sphere of Manipur has increased up to alarming level because of their share of population. So, it is the high time for people of Manipur to think and try something to save the state from the hands of outsiders politically. This is right up to certain mark if we see the number of outsider MLAs in the State Assembly.
But no one from outside intentionally came to Manipur to rule over the people like a dictator or to politically influence the people. This migration of people to the state is mainly in search of the manual work or business. So, this political factor itself is economic induced factor. If we can control the economic factor, then the political influence will automatically be reduced.
But how can we compete with the outsiders when we ourselves feel that Manual works are meant for outsiders (mayang). It is just like inviting outsiders to start settlement in our own homeland. Either we should move our A** up and start working so that outsiders will think that there is less opportunity of work in Manipur as the local people are hard workers than us. The same is the case with business. So, we can control the immigration of outsiders economically if we are ready take out our hands from pocket and work.
At the same time, tourist can be a good source of state income and also livelihood for the locals if properly develop. Now the central government had already sanctioned 300 crore rupees for tourism development in North Eastern States of India for this 5 years plan and on a contrary, Manipur started this revolution of ILP system in Manipur. ILP will definitely affect the inward flows of tourist in the state because people will definitely go for other options instead of fighting for getting ILP and subsequent extension for just visiting Loktak, Keibul Lamjao National park and some other poorly developed tourist attractions.
Socio-Cultural: Culture is just like a river and it should be fresh and moving. A closed culture is as good as smelly stagnant water in a pit. If we try to avoid human-human contact, then it will definitely display our culture as something which is not friendly. Instead, we can look forward the visit of foreigners and outsiders as an opportunity to spread our culture to the world. Also we can think of making museum, cultural center and emporium so that they will serve as an attraction for tourist.
Social evils and law & order which people think may be a concern of the increased immigrants can be controlled by increasing the police force of the state and not army and assam rifle.
To sum up, I think instead of directly claiming the center for implementing inner line permit which is under the purview of the union list (not in the state list), we can request to constitute a committee to review the current scenario or just think alternative options like some steps to improve the socio-cultural and economic status of the under develop areas.
Restricted Area Permit/ protected Area permit is not a concern at this point of time. (with regards to Manipur)
Looking forward to come up with new ideas to have a healthy discussion.