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Jiribam minorities decry Manipur government's policy on ILP

SILCHAR, Aug 27: It is most unfortunate that the Government of Manipur under pressure has at last agreed to promulgate Inner Line Permit (ILP). It has virtually surrendered before Joint Committee on ILP. What is of serious concern is to make 1951 as the cut-off year for identification of foreigners. This is not only unjustified but also unconstitutional. Manipuri attained a full-fledged state in 1972. Before that it was an union territory. Speakers after speakers at a meeting attended by more than 5000 people from different areas of Jiribam spoke about their sense of fear and panic to drive out ‘Mayangs’ or foreigners.
The question is how can Bengalis, Hindus and Muslims, be declared foreigners since they have been living in the areas for generations? The meeting held in the premises of Netaji High School playground at Jakuradahar on Wednesday was presided over by Archana Das, ZPC member of Jiribam Barak Circle. Harendra Chandra Das was present as chief-guest, hailing from Jakuradahar. Besides, others present included the office bearers of All Jiribam Minority Peoples Welfare Organization (AJMPWO).
The meeting was represented by the residents of Sonapur, Latingkhal, Borobekra, Jakuradahar villages. Asab Uddin, secretary, Gunadhar Das, vice-president of AJMPWO, Santanu Das, president of All Jiribam Bengali Students’ Union, Lamsang Dulian, secretary of Barak Brothers Union, as well as Mayur Singha representing Bishnupriya community articulated their views on the prevailing situation in Jiribam and at the same time decried in unison the policy of the Manipur Government adopted towards them.
Vishambar Namasudra, social worker, said it was in 2000 that Manipuri extremists forced the people of Durgapur under Jakuradahar to migrate from there. The helpless people had to leave their homes and lands and settled in Cachar. 200 evicted families are still living in Cachar. Even the newly settled Manipuris get land patta which is denied to them living there for generations. He referred to the fact how the Manipuris from Bangladesh settled down in the areas and provided land pattas.
It is all the most unfortunate as speakers pointed out that when they came to the jungle-infested Jiribam, they had taken all pains and labour to cut the jungles for settlement. They hammered that Manipuris came here much after the settlement of Bengalis. They asserted, “We are united and one. We are ready to die, but will not leave, come what may.” The meeting at the same time expressed their surprise at the silence of the Minister Debendra Singh from Jiribam elected on their votes towards their plight. His effigy was set on fire as protest.
Some families who were forced to leave Imphal and come down here for safety and security narrated at the meeting their miseries and sufferings. Even Manipuri police was hand in gloves, they alleged, in harassing them by extorting money from them, taking advantage of their helplessness. The speakers also took exception to the statements of Manipuri organizations that there was no harassment of Bengalis. (Source:SentinelAssam)

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