ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Politics of Inner Line Permit Extension to Manipur

The extension to Manipur of the Inner Line Permit by the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the centre is an attempt to weaken the anticipated strong protests in the state against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. It comes across as a ploy to weaken the forces that stand in the way of achieving the Hindutva agenda, and also, possibly a means to negotiate the Meiteis’ opposition to the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah)’s intricate demand for Greater Nagalim.

On 9 December 2019, Amit Shah, the home minister of India, announced on the floor of the Lok Sabha while introducing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, (CAB)1 2019 that the Inner Line Permit (ILP) as provided in the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873 would be made applicable to Manipur. True to his words, the Government of India (GoI) swiftly notified the extension of the ILP to Manipur in the Gazette of India on 11 December 2019 (Bhalla 2019). Meanwhile, the Government of Manipur issued a notification on the same day of the home minister’s announcement, for this was perceived as a historic development (Thockchom 2019). With this decision, Manipur achieved two objectives: First, the exemption of Manipur from the purview of the CAA as the act contains provisions for exemption from its purview the Sixth Schedule areas and ILP states, and second, the fulfilment of the long pending demand for the implementation of the ILP in the state.

The extension of the ILP to Manipur raises a number of questions. If the ILP can be easily extended, why did it take so long? Will it survive judicial scrutiny, if it is ever questioned in the court of law? And, what implications does it have for the tribes of the state? This article therefore tries to unravel these complexities of the extension of the ILP in Manipur.

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Updated On : 4th Feb, 2020

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