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KKL rubbishes UNC, KIM positions on ST demand by Meeteis

File Photo: Sit-in at Sagolband Mabudhou Mantri Leikai demanding inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the list of scheduled tribes of the country 

KKL asserted that it would be wrong on the part of both the Nagas and the Kukis to consider the Meetei community as their common enemy

TFM Desk

Reacting sharply to the objections raised by the United Naga Council (UNC) and the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM)  on the  Manipur High Court’s directive to the Government of Manipur to send its recommendations for the inclusion of the Meetei Community in the Scheduled List  of the Tribes of India to the Government of India authorities, the Kangleipak Kanba Lup (KKL) stated that it was placing certain facts on record.

KKL, an oragnaisation said that the Meeteis are demanding the  inclusion of the Meetei in the Scheduled list of Tribes under the Constitution of India  is not aimed at grabbing jobs either from the Naga or Kuki communities of Manipur but to safeguard their “little bit of land now confined to less that 2000 square kilometers out of the 20,000 square kilometers of the entire State”. “They need not fear about grabbing their job reservation quotas currently enforced in Manipur which will remain status quo. And if any job opportunity should arise it will be on an All India basis where the Meities will be competeing with other advanced tribes of India like the Bheels for instance. The UNC and KIM have no birth right to deny any other scheduled tribes of India that job opportunity should be denied to them”, said the KKL statement issued by its secretary Ngamkheingakpa Luwang.

KKL pointed out that both the Naga and Kuki Communities of Manipur are at liberty to condemn the Manipur High Court for giving the directive to the Manipur Government to that effect and that they may also condemn the Governments of Manipur as well as India if it goes through or “even takes up arms against the Centre for the making classification forming a Joint Kuki-Naga Front”.

“To the UNC we would like to reiterate that the Manipuri Language being classified as scheduled language  of the Country under the Eight Schedule has nothing to do with the classification of the Meeteis as a scheduled tribe of India. Anyway Manipuri language is not confined to the Meeteis only but serves as a Ligua Franca amongst all the tribal communities of Manipur, be it between the Nagas and the Kukis but amongst their various sub-tribes also”, pointed out KKL.

The organisation said that it should be borne in mind as to what is happening in neighbouring Assam. The Assamese Language has been in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution since its adoption in 1950. But recently both the Assam Government as well as the Centre have agreed on the demand of the inclusion of the Ahom Tais, a community amongst the Assamese speaking population of Assam. Also  the inclusion of the Ahom Tais as a Scheduled Tribe of India is on the agenda of the talks between the Arbinda Rajkhoha led United Liberation Front of Ahom (ULFA), said KKL,

“Coming to the UNC, we would like to remind our Naga brethrens to remember the words  of the venerable  Ava Koser Thiungaleng Muivah that only the Nagas and the Meeteis are the indigenous peoples of Manipur. So what is the idea of joining hands with the Kukis to block the way for the survival of the Meeteis under the Indian Constitution.You seemed to have bury the hatchet of the Naga-Kuki conflict between 1992 -1994 where over 1000 were killed on both sides and thousands rendered homeless and hundreds of houses were burnt. The Meetei seems to be the common enemy of both the former warring sides”, pointed out KKL

The Meetei organisation also reminded the Tangkhul “brethrens” of the folklore that the Tangkhuls considers the Meeteis as their younger brother and that on the day of the Coronation the Meetei King adorns the dress of a Tangkhul and no Meetei wedding is complete without a Tangkhul Lerum fee or cloth. And no Meetei Laiharaoba is complete without the appearance of the Tangkhul saba and is a sine quo non. And there is still the living custom of the Meetei King, titular or otherwise visiting Hundung Village in Ukhrul to meet his elder brother the Chief of Hundung Village, called Parihanba. “And thus why should the elder brother object to the younger brother getting protection of his land and culture as a scheduled tribe of India”, asks KKL.

To the question of Meeteis being more advanced than the other tribal communities of Manipur, KKL said it had nothing to do with genealogy but it is because of the Mode of Production. The Meeteis followed settled agriculture so that they have more time to concentrate on arts, culture and literature while the many other tribal communities hitherto used to follow slash and burn agriculture before switching to poppy plantation by some of them which will make them all become rich, said KKL .

KKL asserted that it would be wrong on the part of both the Nagas and the Kukis to consider the Meetei community as their common enemy or “else will be constrained to  oppose every move or demand made by any tribal group either Naga or Kuki”

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