“The demand of ST status by the socially and economically advanced community of the state is uncalled for. It deeply disturbs the sense of security of the tribal people who are otherwise protected under the provisions of the Constitution,” said a statement
TFM Ukhrul Correspondent
All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) has come out strongly against the High Court of Manipur’s April 19 order directing the state government to recommend for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei community in the Scheduled Tribe list of the Constitution of India.
In a release, ATSUM said, “April 19 is a black letter day for the tribal people of Manipur. The High Court judgement which directed the state government to recommend the demand of Meitei for inclusion in the ST list by contradicting the wish and aspiration of the tribal people is unfortunate and deplorable. It is an ex parte judgement that only hurts the interests of the petitioners.
“The demand of ST status by the socially and economically advanced community of the state is uncalled for. It deeply disturbs the sense of security of the tribal people who are otherwise protected under the provisions of the Constitution. The tribal community has been opposing this demand on valid reasons that the Meitei community which is comparatively an advanced community, does not merit their inclusion as scheduled in the constitution. It completely negates the very objective of scheduling a group of people for protective discrimination as ST in the constitution.
“Therefore, the tribal people of the state will not take this judgement lying down. We blame the state government because of whose consent such an ex parte judgement was delivered. We will explore all options including legal means to dissuade the state government from recommending it to the central government. We will continue to strongly oppose this demand.
“The state government must desist from recommending this demand as it completely affects the rights and interests of the tribal people and also, as the demand has the potential of adversely affecting the unity and integrity of the people of the state. We also appeal to the state government to uphold the emotional integrity of the state which is bound to disintegrate once the demand for inclusion of Meitei in ST is granted.”
The meeting of the tribal students’ organisations of the state convened by ATSUM on Friday, April 21, 2023, acknowledged the prompt action of the HAC for taking into account the sentiments, rights and interests of the scheduled tribes of Manipur with respect to the Meitei ST demand vide it’s resolution no. 55/203-(HAC) dated 20th April 2023.
The Hill Areas Committee, Manipur Legislative Assembly, in its meeting held on 20 April 2023 in the office chamber of the Hon’ble Chairman, HAC unanimously adopted the resolution: the Hill Areas Committee, Manipur Legislative Assembly is perturbed/aggrieved by the order of Honourable High Court of Manipur dated 19-4-2023 in Writ Petition No. 229 of 2023 directing the government of Manipur to recommend for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei community in the Scheduled Tribe list of the Constitution of India in spite of strong opposition from the Scheduled Tribes of Manipur.
In this matter, the HAC as a Constitutional Body of the Hill Areas of Manipur was neither made a party to the case nor consulted. The HAC also has never given any recommendation or consent.
Further, it is pertinent to mention that the Meitei/Meetei community of Manipur is already protected under the Constitution of India and categorised as (I) general (II) Other Backward Classes (OBC) and (III) Scheduled class. In view of the above, the committee unanimously resolved to urge the government of Manipur and the government of India to go for Appeals against the aforementioned Order of the honourable High Court of Manipur, taking into account the sentiments and interests/rights of the Scheduled Tribes of Manipur.