Inner Line Permit in Manipur, India

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News Desk

The inner line permit (ILP) regime was extended to Manipur on 11th December 2019 with President Ram NathKovind signing the order in this effect.

The decision came after Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced in LokSabha that the ILP would be extended to Manipur.

Photo-1: Manipur in Northeast India

ILP is applicable in different states of Northeast India; Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland have the ILP regime. Manipur is the fourth state where the ILP regime will be applicable. Certain parts of the Leh district in erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. (Now Ladakh UT) are also included in this list.

Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period. The ILPs are of different kinds – It is granted both on short and long-term basis and has provision for outsiders to stay as long as one year in an ILP zone for employment purpose.The ILP is issued by the concerned state government and can be availed either by applying online or in person. The rules vary from state to state. The document states the dates of travel and specifies the particular areas in which the ILP holder can travel. It’s illegal for the visitor to overstay the time granted in the permit.

The Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958 states that a Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required for non-Indian citizens to visit certain areas in India; All of Sikkim, Parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Parts of Himachal Pradesh, Parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Parts of Rajasthan, Parts of Uttarakhand and Parts of Ladakh UT.

There is an important relationship between ILP and the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. If the CAA is implemented without the ILP, then the beneficiaries under CAB will become Indian citizens and will be allowed to settle anywhere in the country. However, the implementation of ILP bars the refugees (who shall become citizens) from settling in the states under the ILP system.

The idea of ILP was generated during the British period through the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 (BEFR).  After the British fully consolidated their position over the entire Assam region, they introduced the Inner Line in 1873. Going beyond the Frontier Line required a license. The hills in the North East were made a Non-Regulation Province of British India where they retained administrative control with minimum interference. It was a regulation meant for segregating the populace of the hills from those of the plains.The Regulation earmarked rules regarding trade and possession of the land within the Inner Line. The BEFR intended to protect the British monarchy’s interest in tea, oil and elephant trade by preventing the Indians from plainsfrom entering into these ‘Protected Areas.’ However, after the partition in 1947, the ILP continued to be used by the government of India to protect tribal cultures in north-eastern India

There were concerns that Manipur may be the worst sufferer if CAB is implemented. The state was demanding ILP regime for a long time. The Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971, passed by Parliament, cleared the path for the establishment of six Autonomous District Councils in the state in 1972. But they have much lower powers compared to ADCs under the Sixth Schedule.In August 2018, the state assembly had passed the Manipur People’s Protection Act. But the law failed to get President’s assent.

Implementation of the ILP regime in Manipur would enable the state to issue permits to non-residents of the state visiting it and regulate their period of stay.

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