Parties bicker over Inner Line Permit in Manipur ahead of civic polls

Imphal May 7 (IANS) The issue of Inner Line Permit (ILP) is a political hot potato in Manipur, with parties challenging each other ahead of the municipal election here.

While most of the political outfits have said that they support implementation of the ILP, the tribals of the state remain staunchly opposed to the idea. And that has led to a situation in which parties are asking each other to make their stand clear on the issue ahead of the June 2 Imphal civic election.

Former state president of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thounaojam Chaoba said that his party backed the idea of ILP under which Indian citizens are granted permission to travel inward to the protected areas.

“State BJP president Khetrimayum Bhabananda has started consulting party leaders in Manipur and he will come out with a policy statement soon,” Chaoba said.

He said that all the 60 elected MLAs of the state should go to New Delhi to urge the central leaders to give assent to the three bills which were passed in the Assembly in this regard.

Chaoba also asked the Congress to clarify its stand on the issue.

“State Congress president T.N. Haokip should come out with a statement on his party’s stand on the issue,” Chaoba said.

While the Joint Committee on ILP has asked the parties to clarify where they stand on the matter by May 8 (Sunday), the Lok Janshakti Party has accused both the BJP and the Congress of evading the sensitive issue.

Currently, the ILP system is operational in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

In 2012, the Manipur Assembly passed a resolution seeking implementation of the ILP system in the region.

But in March 2015, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh introduced the Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bill under which all such categories of people were to be registered with a directorate.

However, protests erupted in the state.

Nine youths died in the violent protests against the ILP. Houses of an MP and several MLAs were set on fire in Churachandpur town in 2015.

Four MLAs belonging to the Naga People’s Front resigned from the Assembly, saying their dissenting opinion was not considered while the bills were passed.

Meanwhile, besides the issue of ILP, the Imphal municipal election is likely to witness a political slugfest over corruption and the law and order situation in the state.

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