April 05, 2020
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The Inner Line Permit

The Inner Line Permit
Kohima is a beautiful city, the scenic hilly terrain resembling the famous Kangra paintings with slanting roofs kissed by the clouds and silhouettes in lazy sunsets. The silent evenings, deadly dark, express both Kohima’s time zone predicament and its fear of the gun. An enchanting place full of pineapples and anxieties, different poles living so closely as to leave the outsider with an eerie feeling. Walking a Kohima street is like poetry woven from a war-torn rice field still smelling of gunpowder. The people are articulate, extremely hospitable and take pride in their history of valour and courage. But a mist of uncertainty and debates about the future dot the social landscape. It would have become a signpost of a different India had the Japanese not been defeated by allied troops at a fierce battle in 1944, which left eleven thousand dead on both sides. The Kohima War Cemetery has a famous epitaph: "When You Go Home, Tell Them of Us and Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today."

Presently, it’s the Bangladeshi Muslim infiltration which has Nagas concerned. Home minister Thenucho was quoted as saying, "If we remain unmindful of this silent invasion, one day we may have to work under them.... " Mias, as the unwelcome guests are known here, have spread out in rural areas and many have married local Naga girls. Their children have even been given mixed monikers like the Semias, children of a Sema Naga girl and Mia husband. How do they enter the state in such large numbers when every legitimate visitor has to procure an Inner Line Permit to ‘check’ into Nagaland?

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