File photo of Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Manipur assembly has unanimously adopted two private member resolutions to set up a state population commission and implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The resolutions were moved by Janata Dal (United) legislator Kh Joykishan on Friday, August 5, the last day of the budget session of the state assembly.

He claimed that the hill areas of the state saw a population growth of 153.3% between 1971 and 2001, and it rose to 250.9% during the 2001-2011 period. The valley areas also recorded a population growth of 94.8% from 1971 to 2001, and around 125% from 2001 to 2011, Joykishan stated.

The JD(U) MLA raised his concern over the alleged infiltration of outsiders into Manipur.

He claimed that there were restrictions on people from the valley districts settling in the hills, and the whopping population growth, particularly in the hills, could be attributed to the alleged influx of people from outside.

Chief minister N. Biren Singh participated in the discussion on the resolutions and said such motions to establish a population commission and implement the NRC in the state would serve the collective interests of all the members of the House.

Knotty issues and conflicting demands

For some time now, there has been a growing clamour in Manipur for the implementation of NRC. In mid-July, seven student groups and 19 tribal bodies from the state wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press their demand for the implementation of NRC in Manipur.

They claimed that a citizenship register was necessary to check migration from Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Myanmar, they said, was of their particular concern given that the state shares a 398-kilometer unfenced international border, according to The Hindu.

Many of the Chin-Kuki tribes of Myanmar share ethnic bonds with the Kuki community in Manipur, which they said, aided the alleged illegal migration into the state due to the political unrest in the neighbouring country.

In the memorandum to the Prime Minister – which was also shared with Union home minister Amit Shah, Manipur governor La Ganeshan, and chief minister Biren Singh – the tribal and student groups alleged that the abolition of the pass or permit system for Manipur, which had existed until November 1950, enabled the “intrusion of immigrants” from Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), Myanmar and Nepal.

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