From our Special Correspondent
IMPHAL, July 6: The government and the ruling Congress can no longer stick their heads in the sand on the burning issue of re-introduction of Inner Line permit (ILP) system in Manipur, now that the activists have started launching fast unto death.
K Birahari, the adviser to the Federation of Regional Indigenous Societies (FREINDS) launched the fast from this morning at Kwakeithel Akham Leikai, about 4 kms from Imphal amidst a huge gathering.
Talking to reporters, Birahari said that the FREINDS had taken a resolution to launch the fast unto death from today. He further disclosed that if the Manipur Assembly does not take up the issue by July 10, both the National highways, the main lifelines of Manipur will be blocked. Besides, there will be a three-day general strike in the State if the government continues to turn a blind eye.The government can now ignore the public outcry only at its peril since the campaign is gaining momentum.
It may be recalled that all sections of the people are supporting the demand for the re-introduction of the ILP since it is for the protection of the indigenous people.
The ILP is in Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. In case of Manipur, one commissioner Himmat Singh, had lifted it on November 18, 1953.
All along the government has been lending a deaf ear to the people outcry. The Chief Minister, Okram Ibobi had even gone to the extent of saying that any citizen of India can stay anywhere in the country. It now remains to be seen whether the government sincerely takes up the issue or just fiddles to stave off the popular demand.