Context: In the run-up to the likely introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill during the current session of Parliament, the concept of Inner Line Permit has also been part of the conversation.
More on the news:
- Recently the Meghalaya Cabinet passed amendments to the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016.
- The impression widely created due to the act is that the amendments will lead to rules similar to those in an ILP regime.
- This Act is applicable to those visiting the state as tourists, labourers, students or for business transactions. They will need to comply with certain guidelines to be prepared in the form of rules.
- Political and civil society representatives from the Northeastern states have also met the Home Minister to express their concerns about the Bill.
Background of demand for ILP in northeastern states
- Demands for an ILP system have been made in various Northeastern states. The North East Students’ Organisation, recently “reiterated its demand for the overall implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in all NE states”.
- Also Manipur People Bill, 2018 was passed unanimously by the state Assembly and now is said to be awaiting Presidential assent.
- The Bill puts several regulations on ‘outsiders’ or ‘non-Manipuri people’ in the state.
- The Bill had undergone a series of negotiations regarding defining the “Manipuri” people, after which a consensus was reached regarding 1951 as the cut-off year for the definition.
- In Assam as well, there have been demands by certain sections for the introduction of ILP.
- Groups like the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad have been organizing protest demonstrations seeking ILP throughout the state.
Inner Line Permit system(ILP)
It is a document that allows an Indian citizen to visit or stay in a state that is protected under the ILP system.
- The concept of ILP comes from the British Indian era.
- Under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873, the British framed regulations restricting the entry and regulating the stay of outsiders in designated areas.
- This system was to protect the Crown’s own commercial interests by preventing “British subjects” (Indians) from trading within these regions.
- In 1950, the Indian government replaced “British subjects” with “Citizen of India”.
- This was to address local concerns about protecting the interests of the indigenous people from outsiders belonging to other Indian states.
The system is in force today in three Northeastern states Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Mizoram.
No Indian citizen can visit any of these states unless he or she belongs to that state, nor can he or she overstay beyond the period specified in the ILP.
Process of issuing ILP
- An ILP is issued by the state government concerned.
- ILP can be obtained after applying either online or physically.
- It states the dates of travel and also specifies the particular areas in the state which the ILP holder can travel to.
Concerns raised due to The CAB connection
- The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill aims to make it easier for non-Muslim refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to obtain Indian citizenship.
- If CAB is implemented with provisions for excluding from its ambit the states under the ILP regime, it means that beneficiaries under CAB will become Indian citizens but will not be able to settle in these three states.
- Consequently, the same restriction applies to existing Indian citizens.
- However the problem is already a high number of migrants are staying in the North East.
- Migrations scenario in north-eastern states
- Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are not among those drastically affected by migration from Bangladesh. However, Mizoram shares a border with Bangladesh.
Also, the three states that have seen the highest migration, are Assam, Tripura, and Meghalaya, none of which has an ILP system.