Arunachal, Mizoram govts to wage war against move to lift ILP

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Itanagar, Jul 15 (UNI) The Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram governments today asserted to fight jointly against the move for lifting of Inner Line Permit (ILP) being implemented in three North Eastern states.

Addressing a joint press conference here this morning, Arunachal Pradesh Water Resources Development (WRD) Minister Tako Dabi and Mizoram Law Minister H Rammawi informed that both the governments, in order to protect the interests of the indigenous tribals of the region, had decided to uphold the enforcement of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, in toto and would oppose tooth and nail the move of some organisations to do away with it.

A number of organisations of the region recently filed litigation in Gauhati High Court for lifting of the century-old regulation so as to lift the ILP system prevailing in three Northeastern states - Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.

The court, in its verdict on June 13, directed the Mizoram government not to deport and arrest persons without ILP, which had snowballed into a major crisis in the region.

''There would be no emancipation of indigenous tribal people if ILP system is lifted,'' Mr Rammawi said, adding that ILP was a must for safeguarding the interests of the tribal population.

The minister, leading a 15-member delegation, arrived here last evening and held threadbare discussions with the Arunachal Pradesh government representatives besides various civil societies.

''We are ready to face any consequences to uphold the enforcement of the ILP system in the region,'' he said and appealed to all the NGOs and civil societies of the region to protest the move.

Mr Dabi, who is also the state government spokesman, while terming the court's judgment as ''unfortunate'', made it clear that both the governments would protest the move in highest forum.

''We have appealed to all the state governments of the region to shed their political differences and extend their all-out support to promote, protect and guard the tribal identities and interests through Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (1873),'' Mr Dabi said.

He added that both the states would urge the Centre to uphold and extend the regulation to all Northeastern states in order to safeguard and protect the threatened ethnic identities of the tribal people.

North East Students' Organisation (NESO) secretary general Gumjum Haider, who was also present at the press meet, disclosed that the students' body had already discussed the matter with various organisations of the region and all were unanimous in their opinion for introduction of ILP system in the NE states.

''ILP is not a prohibition but a formality for getting entry into respective states,'' Mr Haider commented, flanked by NESO vice-president L Punte.

''We would initiate legal battle against the move,'' he added.

Earlier, Young Men Association (YMA) of Mizoram president J H Zoramthanga briefed on the issue and appealed to all the civil societies to oppose the move.

Representatives from the All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union (AAPSU), Arunachal Citizen Rights (ACR), Nefa Indigenous Human Rights Organisations (NIHRO), besides members from various civil societies were among others who attend the press conference.

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