Mizoram Opposes PAP Removal From North-East

Foreign tourists in India (file photo). Image Credit: Bharat Chronicle.

GUWAHATI, Feb 16: Mizoram has refused to echo Manipur in celebrating the lifting of Protected Area Permit (PAP) from the Northeast. New Delhi had on December 30 last year lifted PAP after agreeing that the law and order in the region has improved enough for the permit to go. PAP was required for foreign visitors to the region.

At least five NGOs in Mizoram – Central Young Mizo Association (C-YMA), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (students’ body), Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (women’s body), Mizoram Upa Pawl (senior citizen’s association) and Joint Churches Committee – have demanded that PAP be re-imposed.

In a joint meeting held in state capital Aizawl on Tuesday, the five said PAP was lifted without consulting the people of Mizoram. They feared it would eventually lead to the abolition of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) required for Indians to travel to Mizoram.

ILP, under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873, is also mandatory for Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

“We have decided to submit a memorandum to the Centre to demand revocation of the order to lift PAP,” said MZP president VL Krosshnezova, pointing out Mizoram had in 1994 opposed a bid to lift PAP from the state.

PAP was enforced partly in Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Sikkim and wholly in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order of 1958.

Similarly, the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) under Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order of 1963 is in force in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In Sikkim, RAP covers areas not covered by PAP.

Last December, New Delhi had issued an order that stated: “Government has now decided to exclude the entire area of the states of Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland from the Protected Area regime notified under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958, initially for a period of one year. However, all foreigners visiting these states will have to register themselves with the Foreigners Registration Officer of the district they visit within 24 hours of their arrival. Citizens of some specified countries would, however, continue to require prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs before their visit to these three states.”

The order also said that Indian missions/posts have been authorized to issue ‘Missionary Visa’ to foreign missionaries visiting these three states as per the extant guidelines of the government. “These changes will ease the difficulties being faced by foreigners to visit these three states. These instructions would come into force with effect from 1st of January, 2011,” the order added.

*Reported by Rahul Karmakar.

(Courtesy: The Hindustan Times)

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