Editorial

Protection mania

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/3/2020 1:36:16 PM IST

 After thousands had been violently protesting since 2015 for a protective law, Manipur has finally got the ILP after the resolution of the state assembly was notified. ILP will now be in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur. Meghalaya has also adopted a resolution for implementing ILP. The Act, earlier known as Eastern Bengal Frontier Regulation Act 1873 was introduced by the British to protect the Crown’s (commercial) interests. BEFR restricted entry and regulating stay of outsiders in designated areas. The Act was brought in to prevent “British subjects” (Indians) from trading within these regions. However, after partition, the Indian government replaced “British subjects” with “Citizen of India” and retained the ILP to protect the interests of the indigenous tribal communities of the Northeast. Thus, ILP in effect was an Act to protect the indigenous tribal communities of the north east. ILP is issued by the state government responsible and can be availed both by applying online or in person. The permits issued are mostly of different kinds, provided separately for tourists, tenants and for other purposes. However, after ILP came into effect, the JCILPS pointed out there was no provision to protect the interest of the indigenous people in the guideline and demanded review at the earliest. JCILPS convenor Y.K.Dhiren explained that the clause for protecting the indigenous people should be included in the ILP guideline. The indigenous tribes are unhappy with the clauses in the ILP. The indigenous tribes, mostly Nagas, are demanding separate autonomous hill councils. They believe that the ILP does not address their concerns of being gradually overrun by non-tribe communities of the state. An official source in Manipur opined that , if at all the newly passed ILP laws are to operate throughout Manipur as a workable piece of legislation, the concerns of the Hill Areas Committee must be immediately obtained for necessary consultation with the hill tribes. The source also suggested that the cut-off year and definition of the term “Manipur People” needed to be reviewed and that records and testimonies issued by village chiefs, as per the tribal customary laws, must be made conclusive proof of one’s native descent for the hill tribes. The Congress has also criticised the ILP on the ground that it did not have a base-year( on identification of who can be classified as ‘outsider’) and permanent resident. Even some organisations in Assam are demanding ILP. Probably the reason why ILP has become an issue , is in believing that it is an effective tool against influx of illegal immigrants, mainly from Bangladesh. However, it may be noted, that despite the ILP being in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, it has not protected the states from influx of illegal immigrants. The ILP was synonymous with Nagaland but the startling revelation by the census 1981-2001 where there was sharp rise in population caused tremendous outcry. This was later attributed to illegal immigration especially along the foothill areas of the state. Even the plea of exempting states under Sixth Schedule does not guarantee protection. However, what is not in doubt is that the ILP is a retrograde step and contrasts with the hope and hype over Act East Policy. They must understand that they cannot have the cake and it too. The people and the state and not mere laws can check illegal immigrants.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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