GUWAHATI: A public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court, purportedly by a BJP leader, seeking direction to prevent the extension of Inner Line Permit (ILP) to new areas of Nagaland has stirred a hornet’s nest.
The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) has threatened to launch a state-wide movement if the PIL was not withdrawn. The PIL was filed by one Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, said to be a BJP leader. However, the party denied his affiliation to it.
In a statement, the NSF, which is Nagaland’s apex students’ body, alleged that by filing the PIL, a “vested interest group” was tarnishing the image of the Nagas.
Alleging that the Nagas were projected in a poor light in the PIL, the NSF said the vested interest group had misled Upadhyay with the intention to smear the good image of the Nagas and fan anti-Naga passion outside Nagaland.
The NSF said it was disturbed as the petitioner had accused the Nagas of indulging in racial discrimination.
“…In terms of receiving good treatment, the Naga society in comparison to other societies treats everyone with respect…,” the NSF added.
The BJP’s Nagaland unit chief and minister, Temjen Imna Along, said there was no BJP leader by the name of Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. He said the matter was verified with the party’s Central office.
Earlier, some tribal organisations in Nagaland, including the Naga Hoho, had condemned the petition.
Alleging that the BJP leader painted the Nagas as being “racist”, the Naga Hoho had said, “This clearly shows that he has some malafide intention to malign the Nagas…Unlike other states in India, Nagaland was created out of a political agreement and Dimapur comes within the purview of 1963 statehood”.
The petitioner had urged the Supreme Court to direct the Centre and Nagaland government to take steps to ensure that the non-Nagas living in Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur do not suffer due to the government’s move to impose ILP there and examine if withdrawal of the ILP was feasible.
Currently, except Dimapur and parts of the district, ILP is imposed all over Nagaland. It has also remained enforced in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.