Exclusive (online) interview carried out by Campaign for Peace & Democracy (Manipur) for KanglaOnline.
– Why young student activists wanted Inner Line Permit System in Manipur?
– Why are they fearless to speak out their minds?
– How will the judgmental sections interpret their minds: are these students to be seen as misguided or forced to have political views and some democratic actions?
Read the background of this interview series: CPDM interview-series-why-young-student-activists-wanted-inner-line-permit-system-in-manipur
CPDM Interview with Thoithoi Huidrom
Name: Thoithoi Huidrom
M. Sc., Central Agricultural University, Imphal
Age: 28 years old
Address: Thangmeiband Lairenhanjaba Leikai, Imphal West
CPDM: Please Tell Us Your Name And Surname, Sex And Age.
Thoithoi Huidrom: Thoithoi Huidrom, Female, 28 years.
CPDM: Where Are You From?
Thoithoi Huidrom: Singjamei Wangma Kshetri Leikai, Imphal East.
CPDM: Which class are you in? Please tell us the name of your institute too.
Thoithoi Huidrom: I have completed my M Sc. from Central Agricutlural University, Imphal West.
CPDM: What is the purpose of your education? What ambition in life motivates you to pursue education?
Thoithoi Huidrom: To learn, gain knowledge and wisdom and be an independent person. I would like contributing to the society and bring about positive changes and help build a better environment for the future.
CPDM: What are your views on the Inner Line Permit System movement in Manipur? Do you think it is a right movement? Please share us your thoughts.
Thoithoi Huidrom: It is quite natural and justified for an ethnic minority to feel threatened by the majority. So, for the protection of the vulnerable section ILPS is an effective tool. There is enough evidence to prove that such vulnerable sections will soon be engulfed by the massive influxes of outsiders. This will also result in a major humanitarian crisis. Democracy is a game of numbers, we presently (apparently in the future too) don’t have any say in central politics; we don’t want it to happen atleast in the state. There is a common myth that ILPS is mainly for the labour force from major Indian states. This is simply not true. With a porous international border India shares with her neighbours, many foreigners from Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal have entered Manipur illegally, despite the ginormous presence of heavily armed security forces and their unwarranted sweeping powers. With such threats happening in broad daylight, there has to be a law which checks the inflow of foreigners and other immigrants so that the local population is protected. This is why I support ILP system in Manipur.
CPDM: How have you come to know about the Inner Line Permit System? Would you share it with us?
Thoithoi Huidrom: From newspapers and the internet, mainly the social media.
CPDM: Do you think the student community should/ should not participate in the ILPS movement? Please elaborate your statement.
Thoithoi Huidrom: I would here refer to the cliché, “students are tomorrow’s future”. They have every right to decide their future and take part in activities which will affect them the “most” in the near future.
CPDM: You are a woman, and it is a popular notion that women should restrict themselves to the tit bits of family matters and not take active role in politics. What are your views here?
Thoithoi Huidrom: Such are popular myths. But the point is to challenge and prove them wrong. In our society, most women do not confine themselves to the four corners of the wall. Many are bread earners and maintain a fine balance between work and family life. So, if any woman chooses to be in politics she can do well, provided she has the will. But yes, I also conform to the fact that only a microscopic sample of women are in politics today in our society. Breaking the stereotype by a handful can do wonders.
CPDM: Have you taken any initiative/ active role in the ILPS movement? If so. Please state it. Did anyone force you to join the agitation or take responsibility of it?
Thoithoi Huidrom: Yes. I have participated in the sit in protests and rallies out of my own will. I also play the role of educating the people about the urgent need of ILPS in Manipur and why people should support it.
CPDM: Who and where was the movement organised? How was it organised? What form of movement was it?
Thoithoi Huidrom: Locality level women torch bearers were the forerunners of the movement. It was basically a peaceful march.
CPDM: How far has the movement/agitation been successful? Please elaborate.
Thoithoi Huidrom: I won’t call the movement a success until ILP system is implemented.
CPDM: What are the reasons for the failure of ILPS demand movement?
Thoithoi Huidrom: The government which lacks spine and pay no heed either to public interest or sentiment is to be the number one culprit. Secondly, many among us are divided on this issue. The neo-liberals and metro lived elites and intellectuals think that it’s a backward movement against the tide of globalisation and their bookish, practically unfeasible theories, when in fact, globalisation is also one reason as to why there must be some regulation to help preserve and protect the numerically weak ethnic indigenous masses. Thirdly, there are enough sceptics ready to clap hands and say “this is Manipur…nothing can be done. You are only wasting your time.” Such discouragers themselves don’t do anything productive for the society yet fill the minds of people with doubt and render them hesitant to either support or take part in the movement.
CPDM: What do you want to say to the government of Manipur with regards to the inner line permit system movement?
Thoithoi Huidrom: I want the government to understand the reasons for public fear and apprehensions which has led to the present unrest and do the needful from their side. The public has had enough of their wait and watch policy and is now at the brink of explosion. Take necessary actions as soon as possible for the benefit of everyone.
CPDM: What do you want to say to the government and police forces of Manipur on the issue of ILPS implementation?
Thoithoi Huidrom: The savage actions of the Manipur police commandos are beyond words. Protests are an integral part of a democratic government. The excessive and unnecessary use of force on protesting civilians and students is utterly uncalled for. A precious life would not have lost had the commandos just did their duty of controlling the crowd and not “attacking” them as if they were some foreign enemy.
CPDM: What message do you want to convey to the leaders and civil society organisations of ILPS movement?
Thoithoi Huidrom: For the sake of our future generations, our culture, script and traditions, please continue the movement without dismay. The people are with you. Let not our identity be reduced to some research documents. Stop not till the goal is achieved.
Read the interview series: CPDM interview-series-why-young-student-activists-wanted-inner-line-permit-system-in-manipur
–> Interview with Haobam Supriya: ILPS Movement is a People’s Movement
–> Interview with Chingtham Balbir: ILPS Movement is not Selected Few
–> Interview with Thoithoi Huidrom: Stop not till the ILPS demand is achieved
–> Interview with Irengbam Priobata: No one forced me to participate in any students movements, I was happy to be part of it
–> Interview with Manishwar Nongmathem: They say ILPS is a movement of the people of Manipur but not all communities are involved