IMPHAL, July 13: The Manipur Legislative Assembly has today passed a resolution to extend and adopt the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 with necessary changes in the point of details to the state of Manipur and to urge the Government of India to comply the same.
The members from both opposition and treasury benches unanimously passed the private members’ resolution moved by Trinamool Congress MLAs, namely Dr I Ibohalbi, Th Shyamkumar and Th Biswajit on the last day of second session of 10th Manipur Legislative Assembly.
Presenting a glimpse of historical background of Manipur in the House, MLA Dr I Ibohalbi contended that the demographic map of the state has been changed drastically after the Inner Line Permit System was lifted from the state in 1950 by the then Chief Commissioner Himat Singh.
He stated that the non-Manipuris have become dominant in the state. Most of the businesses in the state are controlled by them. There is an apprehension that the Manipuris might one day become minority in their own land like the Tripuris and Sikkimese, Ibohalbi asserted.
The Trinamool MLA urged the House to pass a resolution for extension of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 taking in account of the sentiments of the people of Manipur.
MLA Th Shyamkumar and Th Biswajeet also put forward the need for the extension of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation in order to safeguard the people of Manipur ahead of the Look East Policy.
MLA Ibomcha also highlighted the need for extension of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation in the state in order to check the demographic imbalance and safeguard its language and script. However, the implementation of such regulation will require an enactment with due consent from the President, he noted.
NPF MLA Samuel Risom contended that the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation introduced by the British government is more than 130 years old and so its implementation in the present scenario needs proper discussion in the House.
Giving his observation in the house, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi stated that the government has been discussing the issue of Inner Line Permit System for the past many years. However, the filing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on ILP by one Sapamcha Jadumani at the Gauhati High Court has made all debates on ILP subjudice. The matter of ILP was even withdrawn from the session of 9th Manipur Legislative Assembly due to the pending case, he noted.
The PIL on ILP was recently withdrawn on July 4 by the petitioner and subsequently the state Cabinet has taken a resolution to urge the Centre to implement Inner Line Permit System in the state, Ibobi stated.
The state can take up measures to drive out the foreigners but it cannot expel fellow Indians from the state. The Indian Constitution guarantees to every citizen the right of free movement and settlement in part of the country. All Indians must live together and die together, Chief Minister averred.
He stated that the provision of Inner Line Permit System is included in the Union List and so the state government has little to do in such matter. The state government is not against the people. It has withdrawn the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 from seven assembly segments under Imphal Municipal Council much against the wishes of the Central government.
The state government is also considering the introduction of Agricultural Land Use Act in the next assembly session by amending the present MLR Act, Chief Minister stated.