Come December 1 and can Imphal and the valley districts of the State expect to see more sit-in-protests, school students coming out on the streets and being water cannoned by the cops, bon-fire in the middle of the road and long, long marches ? This question is important in the face of the fact that the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System has set November 30 as the deadline for the Government to make public the draft proposal of a new legislation to restrict the inflow of non-local people into the State. How will the Government respond to the situation, is the interesting question. Governments are continuous process, there is no doubt about it, but there is a gulf of difference between the saffron party and the Congress which was in power back then.
Recall the days of 2014, 2015, and some parts of 2016 and one will surely remember the days when the State or rather Imphal and the valley districts were under a virtual state of siege. Academic pursuit of the students derailed, with even private tuitions being barred, schools closed and students herded out from their class rooms to fight pitched battles with the cops everywhere. These are the pictures that come to mind and what steps will the new Government take to ensure that the State does not see a repeat of the ugly days of the recent past. Moreover rewind to post August 31, 2015 and one will easily recollect the huge protest that erupted at Churachandpur after the State Assembly passed three Bills to restrict the inflow of non-local people into the State. That 8 bodies of the 9 killed in the protest were given their last rites only after the BJP led Government came to power this year is worth recalling. It is this which should not blow over the minds of the Government and all the stake holders.
It is the valley that needs protection as the hills have Constitutional safeguards. This is a point which has been repeated numerous times in this column. Why not study the possibility of drafting a Bill or Bills, applicable only to the valley areas ? Or will this amount to having two sets of administration which the State already seems to have as the hills are Constitutionally guarded while the valley is open to all. Or why not draft a new Bill only for the valley area and let the existing Inner Line Permit System be enforced in the hills ? All these are probabilities that may be studied.
Having said this, it is also right for all to come to terms with the fact that as long as vacuums are created, non-locals will continue to pour in to fill the vacuum. This is the reality and one should acknowledge this fact. A point which has been repeated numerous times in this column but whenever the need to legislate a Bill to check the inflow of non-local people into the State, there is all the more need to address this crucial point. Why do the people as a whole continue to create vacuums is a question which everyone should address and try to find the answer. One obviously is the unwillingness to take up work which are thought to be demeaning and it is such a mindset why majority of the barbers, washers (dhobis), cart pullers, continue to be dominated by non-local people. Questions which need a thorough and honest probing.
Source: The Sangai Express