Imphal, Feb. 25: The Manipur government has rounded up 20 Bangladeshi nationals and jailed them under the Foreigners’ Act, close on the heels of a demand for a permit system to regulate the inflow of “outsiders”.
The foreign nationals were arrested from a hotel here during a raid on Saturday. They are charged with entering Manipur without possessing valid documents, police said today.
The arrests come soon after the influential United Committee of Manipur urged the ruling party and the Opposition to bring in a resolution introducing an Inner Line Permit system during the Assembly session starting on Friday.
Sapamcha Jaddumani, chief of the United Committee, said the influx of “outsiders” in Manipur had assumed alarming proportions and was threatening the welfare of the indigenous local people as well as the state’s socio-economic environment.
He quoted reports from experts to suggest that migrants now outnumbered Manipur’s tribal communities.
Jaddumani said there were nearly eight lakh migrants out of a total state population of 24 lakh. “While the total population of tribals in the state is pegged at 7.13 lakh, the number of migrants in the state has increased to 7.96 lakh during the past few years,” the committee chief said.
He warned that if the inflow of migrants was not checked, Manipuris would meet the same fate as Tripuris and Tripura chacharis in Cachar, who had lost their identity because of the unchecked influx of migrants.
The organisation plans to bring out a book on migrants’ influx into the state, Jaddumani said.
A few months ago, the banned Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup made a similar warning about the uncontrolled inflow of Hindi-speaking migrants into the state. The outfit said if this continued it would threaten the identity and culture of the locals.