Various ethnic bodies of Sikkim have demanded that a National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Inner Line Permits (ILPs) be introduced in the state to curb the menace of influx, which according to them is posing a threat to their identity.
The tiny Himalayan state shares international borders with China in the north, Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east. It shares its southern boundary with West Bengal and is located close to the country’s Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh.
“The National Register of Citizens exercise should be carried out in Sikkim as there are already thousands of people with doubtful citizenship on record,” says Tashi Lhamu Lepcha, general secretary of Sikkim Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association (SILTA).
Tseten Tashi Bhutia, convenor of Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLA) says – “The rise of influx has certainly added an extra burden on our land and economy. It has become absolutely necessary to restore and implement Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in Sikkim to safeguard the interest of the people of the state”.
The ILP is an official document issued by the Centre to allow inward travel of a citizen into certain areas for a limited period. At present, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram are the three states in the Northeast where the ILP is in force.