Amid protests, and accusations against his government of adopting "delaying tactics in implementing the NRC", Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Friday said that his government is ready to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state but to do that, an approval from the Central government is required.
He said that the state government has already constituted the Manipur State Population Commission (MSPC) and it would identify the immigrants in the state based on the cut-off year of 1961.
"People of Myanmar seeking asylum in Manipur is a different issue. At any cost, we would protect the demography as well as the tradition and culture of the indigenous people of the state," Singh told the media.
Manipur has witnessed a series of agitations for the past several months with many women, students and youth bodies and civil society organisations have been agitating against the state government's alleged "delaying tactics" in introducing the NRC in the state, and in the functioning of the MSPC.
According to the agitators, the influx of outsiders from both inside and outside the country, including people from Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh, has significantly affected the identity, culture, economy, administration and the environment of Manipur.
The agitating organisations also demanded detecting and deporting illegal immigrants from Manipur.
"We are not against any community or religion, but we want to protect our land, environment, and indigenous communities from the adverse effects of illegal settlement," said a spokesperson for the students' bodies.
After the Manipur Assembly had last year adopted a private member resolution to establish a population commission in Manipur, the state Cabinet earlier approved the establishment of the MSPC.
However, the required official process is yet to start for the functioning of the commission.
The Central government, on December 11, 2019, introduced the ILP (Inner Line Permit) system to strictly monitor the movement of outsiders in the state and to protect the interests of the indigenous people.
The ILP under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, is an official travel document that allows an Indian citizen to visit the states where ILP is enforced for a limited period of time and with a specific purpose.
Meanwhile, the Manipur government has decided to identify those Myanmarese refugees -- who have sought asylum in the northeastern state, and keep them at the designated detention centres.
So far, around 5,000 immigrants, including women and children, have fled from conflict-hit Myanmar after the military took power in the neighbouring country in February 2021.
An official said that the Manipur government has recently constituted a Cabinet Sub-Committee headed by Tribal Affairs and Hill Development Minister Letpao Haokip after thousands of Myanmarese crossed over to the state due to the armed conflict happening near Indian border areas between the Myanmar Army and the People's Defence Force.
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