Over the past few weeks, a rash of protests has broken out across Manipur, especially in the state capital Imphal. Interestingly, there are demonstrations both for and against the three anti-migrant Bills dealing with the implementation of the Inner Line Permit System (ILPS). The Bills have been passed in the state Assembly "to protect the indigenous people of the state" and seek to regulate the arrival of outsiders to it.
The Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) is leading the agitation, calling for implementation of the ILPS. The divide is between those who live in the valley, the Meitei, and the tribal hill people, who are opposed to the Acts. The demand for the permits have persisted in the State since 2012.
The Inner Line Permit is an official document issued by the Government of India to allow outsiders to a state to visit certain parts for limited periods only. It was started during British rule and is now used to protect tribal areas. The ILP is in force in the states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
The three bills are the Protection of Manipur People Bill, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th amendment) Bill, and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill.
Following up on the agitation, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, a member of the Indian National Congress, will lead an all party delegation to New Delhi in a bid to gather support for the three Acts by meeting Union Minister Rajnath Singh.
The ILPS has been greeted with protests in the past as well. In September 2015, when the the bills were passed by the State Assembly, curfew was imposed after the houses of five ministers were set on fire for not opposing the Bills.