Bowing to public pressure over the demand for implementation of Inner Line Permit System (ILPS), which restricts entry of outsiders to a state, the Manipur government has sought the Centre’s help for implementation of the regulation.

The decision came hours before a ‘public curfew’ called by a local committee from Thursday midnight.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh on Thursday night, officials said.

This would be conveyed to the Centre at the earliest, they said.

The decision came after the cabinet failed to take a stand on the matter twice earlier.

The cabinet’s move came on the heels of widespread agitation in Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishenpur districts demanding implementation of the regulation, which is in force in neighbouring Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

Officials said the number of outsiders, including labourers and daily wage earners, now outnumbered the total tribal population of Manipur.

Implementation of the ILPS is within the power of the state government, a spokesperson of the local Joint Action Committee on ILPS, which is steering the agitation, claimed.

He warned if the state assembly failed to pass a bill for implementation of ILPS, the committee would launch a series of agitations, including a halt to the construction of the 222 km Jiribam-Imphal railway line and prevent outside labourers and daily wage earners from entering the state.