People patrol on river bank in Assam to stop Manipur boats
Locals patrolling along the Barak river in Cachar

Silchar: Residents of Sonbari in Cachar district’s Lakhipur assembly constituency in southern Assam, have been patrolling in that area (Sonbari) along the river Barak since Tuesday to prevent public transport boats or any other boats of Manipur from entering Assam’s territory via the waterway.

The locals have been patrolling the river bank since Tuesday after two women from the Sonbari area going to Manipur to attend a religious programme were allegedly made to disembark the boat and were left at an “unsafe” place along the river by that state’s village defence party (VDP) members as the women did not have inner line permit (ILP) documents.

Inner line permit (ILP) is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period.

People patrol in Sonbari, Lakhipur in Assam’s Cachar district on the Barak river’s bank to prevent boats of Manipur from entering Assam’s territory.

According to Sonbari locals, the VDP members misbehaved with the two women and when Sonbari locals got the news, they brought the women back to their native place.

Sources said the incident caused fury among the local people and a group of irate mob reached the Barak river bank in Sonbari (which falls near the Assam-Manipur border), around 4km from Lakhipur, and started patrolling in that area to prevent any boats from Manipur from passing via Assam’s territory.

Since then, the people, who have set up temporary camps with plastic sheets on the river bank, have stopped all the boats coming from the Manipur side in Sonbari along the river and made them turn back towards Manipur. No official from Manipur communicated with the protesters in the past two days, the sources said.

The people (who are patrolling the area in Sonbari), claimed that as per government records, the Barak river’s southern side belongs to Assam and its northern part belongs to Manipur, but people of Manipur claim the entire part belongs to that state.

Whenever people of Sonbari (Assam) go to catch fish from the river on Assam’s side, VDP officials of Manipur ask for ILP documents. If someone goes to obtain ILP in Jiribam (Manipur), they (Manipur authorities) say that ILP is not given to people for catching fish. As such, people of Assam are being harassed, the people alleged. They threatened to continue their patrolling activity and prevent boats of Manipur from entering Assam unless a plausible solution is chalked out regarding the ILP issue.

Lakhipur BJP legislator Kaushik Rai told EastMojo on Thursday that he would speak to the authorities concerned regarding the matter.

No official from Manipur could be reached for comments.

It may be mentioned that a truck driver of Lalpani, Lakhipur (Cachar district) Joynal Hussain was beaten up allegedly by police in Kaimai in Manipur’s Tamenglong district earlier this month after Joynal could not give the cops Rs 300 demanded by them. Joynal gave them Rs 20 (which he had with him at that time) which the police took from him and later took him to the local police station and allegedly beat him up. Movement of trucks remained stopped on national highway-37 (Assam-Manipur road) for long hours following that incident.

At least 14 people were held in the Nagamapal area of Manipur’s capital Imphal on Tuesday after police found them without ILP papers. The 14 persons were produced before a court which ordered their deportation.

Also Read | Temporary jails coming up in Assam as crackdown on child marriage continues

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  1. The editor is bengali so he’s writing on behalf of Bangladeshi’s blaming manipuri peoples even after knowing Assam belongs to Assamese people, it’s non of a matter of Bangladeshi’s.

  2. When same injustice happens to manipuri peoples in barak valley……non of the bengali editors from eastmojo will write any article, so to protect the image of your community…I strongly condemn eastmojo

  3. @NKS – Please understand the thing that EastMojo is not saying here about any kind of “injustice” with anyone, but the report is about “allegations” raised by a section of people against another section of people, that’s why the word “allegedly” has been used in the story. Before jumping to any conclusion, please try to understand that a media house never publishes anything without facts and valid evidences and if it is unclear about anything in a news report, the word “allegedly” is used as here in this case.

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