Protest rallies against removal of ILP in Mizoram

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Aizawl, Jul 21 (UNI) The Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) today staged a sit-in in front of the Raj Bhawan here in protest against the move to scrap the Inner Line Permit (ILP) from the state.

Meanwhile, the student activists of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh also took out protest rallies in front of their respective Raj Bhavans to show their solidarity against the removal of the ILP from the three North Eastern (NE) states.

Earlier, Mizoram's special delegation on the ILP visited Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, seeking their support, in the wake of Gauhati High Court's interim order, which stayed the ILP in Mizoram.

Mizoram Law Minister H Rammawi, heading the 15-member delegation, emphasised on the need to uphold the century-old Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873, which safeguarded the indigenous people of the region from assimilation.

''Our situation is very precarious and unless we do something about this now, our survival would be endangered, even within a span of 20 years. We appreciate the promise of support extended to us by the governments of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and their civil societies for preserving our safeguards through the BEFR, 1873,'' Mr Rammawi said.

He added said there was a need for a cohesive movement among the tribals of the NE region for their self-preservation.

''While Tripura's indigenous tribes lost everything due to lack of safeguards, Assam is slowly losing its ethnic identity because of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh,'' he said.

The delegation claimed that the population of Lower Assam consisted of only of 50 per cent of its indigenous people while Upper Assam's one-third population consisted of immigrants, of which infiltrators, mainly from Bangladesh, were the majority.

The North East Students Organisation (NESO) had also taken keen interest in the issue, the members of the delegation said, adding that it was pressurising the Centre to cover the entire North Eastern region (NER) under the Act.

Meanwhile, the Arunachal Pradesh government issued a four-point joint statement, signed by its Law Minister Tako Dabi and his Mizoram counterpart Rammawi, urging all the governments in the NER to extend all-out support to protect the tribal identities and interests.

Earlier, the Silchar-based North East Plains People Traders and Youth Federation had submitted a PIL in Gauhati High Court questioning the constitutional validity of the 1873 Act.

Subsequently, the High Court had issued an interim order on June 12, which prevented the Mizoram government from taking action against violators of the Act.

UNI ZS SB DPM ARB MIR KP1746

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