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Meitei/Meetei ST Demand: STDCM lashes out at Manipur Govt for failing to send recommendation


STDCM convenor Laishram Romesh Meetei asserted that the state government failed to send the recommendation during its five years tenure, while it was busy engaging in “propaganda war”. 

TFM Desk

The Schedule Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur on Monday lashed out at the BJP led Manipur government for failing to send the recommendation for the inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe list. It accused the state government of being dishonest and not keeping its promises.

Addressing media persons in Imphal, STDCM convenor Laishram Romesh Meetei asserted that the state government failed to send the recommendation during its five years tenure, while it was busy engaging in “propaganda war”.

Stating that the long-standing demand has been intimated to the chief minister N Biren Singh on several occasions and he had also given his assurances, Romesh said that it was unfortunate that it was not materialized before the onset of model code of conduct. The STDCM also condemned the state government for hoodwinking the people.

Romesh also informed that different forms of agitations will be launched from January 15, even though there is a model code of conduct for the election.

Recently, the STDCM has been organising a series of sit-ins and other forms of agitations in different parts of the state urging the state government to send the recommendation before the announcement of poll schedule.

During his visit to Manipur on January 4, the committee also submitted a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the inclusion of the ethnic Meitei/Meetel, one of the indigenous Communities of Manipur, in the Scheduled Tribe list under Article 342(1) of the Constitution of India.

The committee reiterated that the Meiteis/Meeteis, one of the Indigenous communities of Manipur, rightfully deserves Constitutional safeguards, as provided to other indigenous communities of Manipur and neighbouring states of Northeast India, to protect their distinctly indigenous identity and ancestral land in entirety.

The representation emphasized that the Indigenous Meitei/Meetei who are original inhabitants of Manipur since time immemorial were recognised as one of the tribes of Manipur in successive government records including that of 1931 Census.

But, the indigenous Meitei/Meetel Community was indiscriminately left out of the list of Scheduled Tribes prepared under Article 342(1) of the Indian Constitution in 1950 on an “indisputably inauthentic and unjustifiable basis”, it stated.

Since then the community has been victimised without any constitutional safeguards to date. As a result, the Meitei/Meetei have been gradually marginalised in their ancestral land, i.e., Manipur. Their population which was 59% of the total population of Manipur in 1951 has now been reduced to 44% as per 2011 Census data.

In view of such gross injustice meted out to the Indigenous Meitei/Meetei community, the STDCM on behalf of the community submitted a series of memorandums/representations to the Government of India and Government of Manipur for inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe list of India under Article 342(1) of the Constitution of India.

The committee had also submitted such a representation submitted to you (through the Chief Secretary to the Government of Manipur) during PM Modi’s official visit to Manipur on January 4, 2019.

In response to a similar representation of the STDCM submitted to the then government, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, vide their letter dated May 29, 2013, had asked the Government of Manipur to furnish to the Ministry “specific recommendations along with the latest socio-economic survey and ethnography report of the Meiteis/Meeteis for consideration of the proposal for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei community in the ST list”, which the Government of Manipur is yet to comply with.

The STDCM along with the people of Meitei/Meetei Community have. been continuously urging the Government of Manipur through peaceful democratic means, including two peaceful mass rallies attended by lakhs of people, for taking up necessary steps for furnishing the required specific recommendations to the Govt of India.

“However, the state government has so far failed to take up any concrete and positive steps except occasional and evasive verbal responses. It is thus quite evident that the Manipur Govt. is utterly indifferent to our rightful demand in question and peaceful democratic persuasions and protests to further the cause. It clearly shows the State Govt. pays more importance to and careful attention about violent protests.”

The committee also seeked PM Modi’s intervention in this regard without further delay, respecting the committee’s peaceful movement adhered to so far and without compelling the concerned people to resort to mass agitation to press for their demand.

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