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ST status for Meitei echoes during mass rally in Imphal

Photo: E-Pao
IMPHAL: Co-ordinating Body of Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM) Sunday organized a peaceful demonstration in Imphal showcased peoples’ support to its demand.

STDCM has been demanding “schedule tribe (ST) status for Meeitei/Mietei under clause 1 of Article 342 of Indian Constitution.

The demonstration concluded with a meeting at Hapta Kangjeibung (Palace Compound) wherein a three-point resolution was adopted unanimously.

One of the resolutions stated that Manipur government should furnish a government recommendation for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the ST list to the Centre within October 2016 among others.

If fails, STDCM with the support of the people will launch a series of agitations, the third resolution stated.

Claiming that today’s rally in which thousands of people took part showed that people are in favour of ST status for the Meetei/Meitei, the first resolution declared that henceforth the ST status demand has become a demand of the masses.

The demonstration flagged off from THAU ground after marching on the streets in Imphal converged at Hapta Kangjeibung where the public meeting was held with representatives of various civil societies as main speakers.

Placards with various slogans like “Save indigenous Meetei/Meitei”, “Include Meetei/Meitei in ST list,” “no general yes ST,” “Wake up for our future”, etc were displayed during the rally.

According to the speakers, there are certain provisions in the Constitution of India which safe guard small and indigenous communities once they are included in ST status. 

ST status guarantees not only quotas in government institution but also certain safeguard against the infiltration of outsiders.

Leaders of the STDCM asserted that in the ever increasing pressure on the survival of the Meitei community, the only way to protect them was to give the Meitei the scheduled tribe status.

According to the census records of 1891, 1901, and 1931, the Meitei belonged to the scheduled tribe, and thereafter removed from the gazetteers of 1951 onward without any communication to the people and the government of Manipur, without obtaining approval of the Union ministry of tribal affairs, ST, said SDCM general secretary Laishram Lokendra said.

The community has been facing irreparable economic down turn for decades since their exclusion from the list of scheduled tribe, he added.

He claimed that huge participation in today’s rally proved that the valley people of the state wanted schedule tribe status. 

As such, the state and Central government should respect it and fulfil the demand, he insisted.

PTI Adds: Demanding inclusion of Meitei in the list of Scheduled tribes list of India, the ‘Co-ordinating Body on Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee’ today took part in a rally in Imphal West district.

Co-Convenor of the Committee, Ratankumar said there had been influx of foreigners - particularly those from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal - triggering a fear among the Meeteis/ Meitei that their identity will be extinct.

He harped on social equality and equal respect for all indigenous ethnic communities of Manipur.

Noted social activist Yambem Laba mooted that the Centre is unlikely to grant Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) in the state and that demand for ST status is the only way to preserve the identity of the Meeteis/ Meiteis.

A voluntary signature campaign was also carried out.

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