From a correspondent
Silchar, Aug 1: In a press-release issued here today, Amra Bengali has strongly protested against the harassment and mental torture meted out to the Bengalis residing in Manipur over the issue of Inner Line Permit (ILP). There has been a state of unrest in Manipur over the past few months with agitators demanding ILP system. In this regard a 48 hour curfew was also imposed by agitators in the Bengali domited Jiribam sub-division of the state on last Thursday.
Sadhan Purkayastha, secretary of the organization, said that the demand for ILP is being headed by Joint Committee of ILP System (JCILPS) and has taken a serious turn with rallies, stone pelting and clashes between police and agitators. If the Okram Ibobi Singh led Manipur Government concedes to the demand for introducing ILP, non Manipuris will soon require an official travel document issued by the Central Government to enter the state. Particularly, it will affect the Bengalis who have been residing in the state for several generations. Besides, ILP may seriously hamper the economic growth of Manipur which is among the poorest states of the country.
Purkayastha further said the ILP system demand in the valley areas of Manipur has as its driving force a xenophobic fear that the indigenous communities are under threat of being pushed to the margins in their own land by the settlers. It is to be noted that out of the 27 lakh population of the state around 7 lakh people are from outside the state. No evidence of any large scale influx into the state has yet been found, he added.
JCILPS wants 1951 as the cutoff date for the purpose which will make land transfer deeds concluded after 1951 as null and void. It will seriously affect the Bengali community residing in the state. Members of Amra Bengali criticized the unconstitutiol demands of the organizations involved in the agitation. They expressed hope that the Centre would look into the matter and take appropriate steps to find an amiable solution to the problem.