oppn parties Why is Manipur Burning?

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  • Corona cases in India cross 4000 and the death toll stands at 124
  • The government decides to double the testing of corona suspects from 10000 now to 20000 in the next three days
  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
India shows solidarity in the fight against COVID-19 by lighting diyas and candles at 9 pm yesterday as requested by Prime Minister Modi
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Why is Manipur Burning?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2015-09-25 16:58:49

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Concerned about being swamped by ‘outsiders,’ Manipuris have been demanding that the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system, currently in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, should be extended to their state too. The ILP required Indian citizens from any other state, as well as foreign nationals, to get a permit for visiting these states and a tourist IPL is given for 15 days. Work permits are given for 6 months. Citing figures from the 2001 Census, agitators say that if the ILP is not enforced in Manipur, the local people would soon become a minority in their own state. A schoolboy, Sapam Robinhood, was killed in the melee that followed when agitators clashed with the police in July. Although the Manipur assembly adopted a resolution on July 13, 2012 for implementation of ILP in the state and the chief minister wrote to the Central government requesting the same, it was rejected by the Union home ministry. The Manipuris often say that this is discrimination as neighbouring states have ILP precisely for the same reasons that they are demanding. As per 2001 Census, the Meiteis, the majority indigenous people in the state number 7.51 lakhs, just a few thousand more than the migrant population of 7.04 lakhs. This has raised fears that all trade and jobs will be cornered by these ‘outsiders.’ Land ownership issues are also being raised. Even as the agitation was going on, the Manipur assembly passed three bills, The Protection of Manipur People Bill, The Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill, and The Manipur Shops and Establishments (2nd Amendment) Bill, ostensibly to protect the rights and interests of the hill tribes in the five hill districts of the state. But it had the opposite effect. Everyone in the state, including the hill tribes, denounced the bills as not providing enough protection and the agitation has intensified. The main point of contention is the cut-off of 1951 to identify ‘outsiders. It is also contended that the Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill dilutes the tribals’ right to their ancestral land. On scrutiny this contention is specious as the bill seeks to regulate sale of tribal land to non-Manipuris. On paper, any country has to accord freedom of movement, residence and business to all its citizens all over the country. This is guaranteed by the Constitution. But in reality, this freedom is often curtailed by various considerations. On paper again, the Manipuri demand of extension of ILP is also reasonable given that both states bordering it â€" Nagaland and Mizoram â€" have it. But there are several factors that go against it. As some of the alleged ‘outsiders’ have been living in Manipur for more than three generations and have contributed to the development of the state through their business acumen and industrious efforts, what will become of them? Those agitating should realize that demand often precedes supply. Apart from the three generation settlers, most of the other ‘outsiders’ are migrant labour engaged in low end jobs. Since indigenous people were not open to accepting these jobs, there was an influx of labour from Bihar and UP. As work has to go on, the labour market has its own matrix. It sources people from anywhere to get the job done. If the local people had filled the vacancies, the problem would not have arisen. After all, no one likes to go 1500 kilometres to do a low end job. If these people are now subjected to violence and are forced to leave, without the vacuum being filled by indigenous people, how will Manipur develop? There will also be a flight of capital from the state as businessmen will think of investing elsewhere. Further, there is the question of backlash across India. This backlash will be faced by all people from the North-East as Indians everywhere as it is treat them as ‘foreigners,’ let alone making a distinction between a Manipuri and a Naga. Already, Pappu Yadav has issued an ultimatum that if Biharis are forced to flee Manipur, he will ensure that Manipuris are taken off trains passing through Bihar and sent back to their state. A balance needs to be struck between the protection the state should provide to indigenous people and the right of other Indians to own land, reside or work in such states.