Sailing on two boats

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 2/13/2020 11:32:29 AM IST

 With Manipur having joined those states in region where the Inner Line Permit (BEFR 1873) is in force, another north eastern state-Meghalaya- in all probability will also join the bandwagon. The theory of probability would also not exclude Assam. If that too, is also a probable scenario, then all credit can be given to the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, for heightening scaremongering on illegal immigrants from Bangladesh swamping the region. Presently ILP is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur. In Meghalaya the state government had on December 19,2019passed a resolution for ILP but is yet to be given the nod from the Centre. The influential Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO) has reiterated its demand for introducing ILP (inner Line Permit) in the State, and also said that it will file a petition challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in the Supreme Court. According to some reports, the Centre was lukewarm to the demand for ILP in Meghalaya on the ground that it will stifle tourism, which has been a good revenue earner for the state. The other ground against ILP in Meghalaya is that the state even during the rule of the British, had never been placed under the BEFCR 1873. Going by the reports, even Assam has also pitched for implementation of ILP in the state. Currently the autonomous Bodo, Karbi and Dimasa-Hasao districts are under the Sixth Schedule. The clamour for ILP as anti-dote to CAA and NRC is highly contentious.ILP is as a means to protect the indigenous tribes from exploitation and preserve their fragile cultures and traditions. The British did not want the plainsmen to compete with them in business do they prohibited entry of Indian to the BEFR (ILP) areas under the pretext protection. After India became independent, the BEFR Act underwent some changes wherein the restriction was imposed on the non-indigenous Indian citizens. The fear of illegal immigrants may have been overstated with the tragic Tripura experience, as example. ILP cannot be an anti-dote to CAA nor a protection against influx of illegal immigrants. Tripura was swamped due to a national conspiracy against the indigenous tribes.ILP comes from a different era and for a totally different purpose as stated above. ILP is restrictive and will cause collateral restriction on the economy. It may be recalled that when the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) and Protected Area Permit (PAP) were in force, the affected states in the north east, raise hue and cry because these permits severely restricted entry of foreigners. RAP/PAP were restrictive to foreigners while ILP was restrictive to non-local/indigenous Indian citizens from entering the region. Now that RAP/PAP have been removed after years of demands. On the other hand, the current demand for ILP is anti-climatic. A restrictive law in a global scenario of trade, travel and economics does not fit at all. The north east states have to work together effectively to address their common concern over influx from across the border be it by immigrants from any religion. There cannot be a dichotomy over this issue between BJP and its allies and non-BJP parties in the region. If at all ILP is seen as the saviour, then it will have to prove that in the immediate future otherwise it will be a case of crying wolf and also wanting the cake and eating it too.

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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