Gangtok: Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Dilli Ram Thapa has ‘requested for resolution on the Inner Line Permit (ILP)’ before the Central Government issues a fresh notification (gazette) on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). MLA Thapa representing the Upper Burtuk constituency in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly session placed the request during his valedictory address at the Assembly session on Friday.
Reminding the Assembly about the ‘verbal promise’ of Home Minister Amit Shah in the Indian Parliament during the passing of the Act, Thapa stated, “The assurance so far is only verbal that CAA will not be implemented in Sikkim on the pretext that the Sikkim already has Article 371F as protection. But, we request the State government to pass a resolution demanding an Inner Line Permit in Sikkim before the Central Government issues another gazette on the implementation of CAA. Let us pass the resolution swiftly as this is one issue where we (legislators) must all come to a consensus, let us conduct a special session for the introduction of ILP in Sikkim.”
Thapa also drew comparisons with the other northeastern states where either the ILP is implemented or the sixth schedule has been implemented in tribal areas of Assam, Mizoram and Meghalaya. He stated, “For Meghalaya, CAA will not be implemented in areas which are not tribal or under 6th schedule.”
Speaking on the changing demography of Sikkim in the absence of ILP and also about the lack of a mechanism to check migrants coming and going from the State, Thapa highlighted, “The Labour Act must be stringent. There is no record of how many migrant labourers entered Sikkim in the past 15-20 years. There are more migrants in the State than the population of the State. We still are relying on the Census of 2011, which states the Sikkimese population to be around 6 lakh people. There is no mechanism to identify who are migrants and who are Sikkimese people since the migrants have started living in Sikkim now. We know about migrants coming but is there a mechanism in place to check how many returned thereafter? Also, with the implementation of the One Nation One Ration Card, these migrant labours have now started coming with their families. All of this is happening because of lack of stricter labour laws as well as the absence of ILP.”
Batting for ILP, Thapa also acknowledged how it may affect the tourism sector in the state. However, he urged the State government to put security at the forefront as opposed to revenue generation in the State. He stated, “ILP may affect tourism but let us save Sikkim first. The business can follow after that. Let us take the example of Arunachal Pradesh where despite the ILP in place, the tourism sector is thriving”.
Thapa’s demand for ILP in Sikkim was backed by two BJP legislators – Yon Tshering Lepcha from Gangtok constituency and Maneybong-Dentam MLA NK Subba.
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