Imphal, March 10 2021: Long pending demand to include Meitei/metei into Schedule Tribe list is gaining momentum. The Meetei Students’ Association, Manipur University has endorsed the demand for inclusion of Meeteis/Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe list.
In a statement, the student body said the demand for inclusion of the Meeteis/Meiteis in the ST list is to provide Constitutional protection to the community.
The community at present has no strict Constitutional safeguard to protect and preserve their interests.
The demand for inclusion of the community in the ST list is not directed against any other communities and organisations, but is a legitimate right to protect themselves.
ST status to the Meeteis/Meiteis would also ensure equality and equal opportunity and close the gap in societal structure.
No organisation or community should work against the demand raised, as the guiding principle for demanding the ST status is–to live and let live harmoniously together, it said.
The student body further stressed that the Manipur Government should take up steps, proactively, to recognise the Meeteis/Meiteis as a Scheduled Tribe community.
Notably, many other civil organisations and the STDCM (Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur) have been demanding ST status of Meeteis/Meiteis.
They have been urging the State Government to send necessary recommendations to the Centre to include the community in the ST list.
Significantly, the STDCM, which has been spearheading the demand, and many other organisations had recently condemned the State Government and Chief Minister N Biren Singh for not taking any step yet to send the required recommendations to the Centre.
It may be noted that even though he had acknowledged that the Meeteis/Meiteis need some form of safeguard, the Chief Minister, during the Budget session recently, had stated on the Assembly floor that the “State Government has not taken up any step to send the recommendations” .
His statement had drawn flak from different organisations.
On the other hand, strengthening the demand for ST status, the World Meetei Convention (WMC) had recently resolved to appeal the Centre to include the community in the ST list.
The resolution was taken during the Guwahati plenary session of the WMC held at Guwahati on February 28.The WMC had said that it can “go to any extent to achieve the goal” .
Reminding that it has taken the resolution to demand ST status for Meeteis/Meiteis, the WMC in a statement today has also appealed the State Government to send the required recommendations to the Centre.
It is the legitimate right of the community to demand ST status, it said.