GUWAHATI: A BJP leader’s petition filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to prevent the extension of Inner Line Permit (ILP) to new areas of Nagaland has ruffled the feathers of several Naga organisations.
They questioned the motive of Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, the BJP leader, behind filing the public interest litigation (PIL). He had urged the 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 imposition of ILP and examine if withdrawal of the ILP was feasible.
The Naga Hoho, which is Nagaland’s apex tribal organisation, said if Upadhyay had any apprehension or doubts on the ILP issue, he could have approached the Nagaland government or any other appropriate platform instead of going to a court.
Alleging that the BJP leader painted the Nagas as being “racist”, the Naga Hoho 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”.
Reacting to the PIL, the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) insisted that Dimapur district be brought under the purview of the ILP and there should not be any compromise.
The Western Sumi Hoho “condemned” the PIL. The tribal body observed that while the PIL sent across a wrong message to outsiders, it also was a “direct challenge to the people of Nagaland and our very own existence”.
In February this year, Nagaland Governor PB Acharya had told the state Assembly that ILP would be made applicable across the state. He was concerned over the threat posed to the Naga society from illegal immigrants.
Earlier, after accepting the report of a committee on ILP, the state government had issued necessary directives for the framing of rules and guidelines for its implementation.
Currently, except Dimapur and parts of the district, ILP is imposed all over Nagaland. It has also remained enforced in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. There have been demands from various organisations in Meghalaya and Manipur for the imposition of ILP in the two states. An outsider, visiting the ‘protected’ states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal, is required to carry ILP.