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In Photo: The GJM delegation during the meeting with Union MoS home Kiren Rijiju in New Delhi. Photo courtesy – GJM

By A Newsman

Darjeeling, 02 September: DARJEELING-based Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) has demanded to the Centre that the cut-off date to determine native residents in Manipur should be the day when a new law on this comes into effect and not 1951, as the Manipur government has decided.

A five-member GJM delegation, led by party chief Bimal Gurung, called on the Union minister of state (MoS) for home affairs in New Delhi and placed the demand.

This comes amidst continuing violence in parts of Manipur due to agitations by tribal organisations protesting the passage of three new legislations ~ Protection of Manipur People’s Bill, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill and Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill in the Manipur Assembly.

The GJM is concerned because there are a sizeable number of Nepali-speaking people settled in Manipur for decades.

The party believes that the provision of a 1951 cut-off date in the Protection of Manipur People’s Bill to determine native residents in Manipur has made the Gorkhas living there “vulnerable to racism, with various groups asking the Gorkhas to leave by labelling them as foreigners and outsiders.”

The GJM delegation told Mr Rijiju the Manipur government’s move was “too arbitrary and will lead to labelling of one section or the other of the residents of Manipur as outsiders.” They sought the Union home ministry’s urgent intervention on this.

They demanded that while implementing the proposed Inner Line Permit (ILP) that would require people from outside to obtain prior permission to visit Manipur, the interests of all sections of Indian citizens must me ensured as per the spirit of the Constitution.

“The honourable minister has assured the GJM delegation that the Central Government will give safety and protection to all minority communities, including the Gorkhas in Manipur,” Bimal Gurung said in a written statement after the meeting.

In an unrelated development, the Union MoS home informed the GJM leaders that an inter-ministerial team from the Centre would visit Darjeeling soon to assess the damages caused by the late June landslides and plan a restoration.