The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 14 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Panel’s ILP plan runs into Ibobi wall

Imphal, Nov. 13: The Ibobi Singh-government is taking steps to prevent the joint committee on inner-line permit (ILP) from issuing stay permits to non-Manipuris living in Manipur.

The joint committee, a conglomerate of citizens’ organisations, had already announced that it would start issuing forms for stay permits from Monday as part of its campaign to detect foreigners.

The committee said barring those coming for government services, education, sport, cultural purposes and living in Manipur since before 1947, the stay permit would be issued to all non-Manipuris. It said the last date for form submission was December 19.

The committee had earlier given an ultimatum to both the state government and the Centre to implement the ILP system in Manipur by November 18.

The committee gave the ultimatum after Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde virtually rejected a decision taken by the Manipur Assembly in July this year urging the Centre to implement the system, which is existing in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

After the BTAD riots, the Ibobi Singh-government launched a campaign to detect foreigners. The joint committee felt that this was not enough.

Ibobi Singh is away on a foreign tour and deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, who is holding the home portfolio, is the chief minister in-charge now.

Official sources said Gaikhangam was consulting senior police officials and legal experts to foil the plan by the joint committee.

“The government will not remain silent if steps are taken by civil organisations to issue permits. This will complicate things and cause serious law and order problem,” an official source said.

The source said the government was taking steps to check the inflow of foreigners by setting up checkgates at all the entry points, including Jiribam, Manipur’s gateway to Assam. Many outsiders, who had tried to enter Manipur without proper documents proving their Indian citizenship, were turned back from Jiribam, the source added.

A source close to the deputy chief minister said Gaikhangam appreciated the spirit of the committee but was not prepared to remain silent. The source said only the Centre could implement the ILP system.

The joint committee, however, is prepared to face government opposition. It tried to speak to the government, but received no response, the spokesperson for the joint committee, Joy Chingakham, said.

Joint committee convener Sapamcha Jadumani said they were prepared to face any “obstruction” from the government and would go ahead with the plan.