Meitei community’s demand for ST status resurfaces

Correspondent IMPHAL, Feb 21 | Publish Date: 2/21/2021 12:39:14 PM IST

The demand for inclusion of Meitei community of Manipur in the Schedule Tribe (ST) list of Indian Constitution resurfaced when members of the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (STDC) Manipur staged a peaceful demonstration in Imphal on Sunday. The demonstrators demanded the state government not  to delay sending the mandatory recommendation for inclusion of the community in the ST list to the Central government.

STDC, an apex body of some civil society organisations have been pressing the state government to send the mandatory recommendation for inclusion of the indigenous community to the Central government. The members staged the demonstration in the backdrop of a recent statement which chief minister N Biren Singh had given to the floor of the state Assembly in its ongoing budget session.

Admitting the threatened Meitei community needed protection, Singh, on February 10, informed the state assembly that the state government was positively looking into the demand for inclusion of Meitei community in the Schedule Tribe (ST) list.  During today’s demonstration, the STDC threatened to launch intense forms of agitations if the state government delayed recommending the Centre for inclusion of the community in the ST list.

“We will be compelled to resume our agitations, this time with intense forms if the state government further delays in sending the recommendation,” STDC general secretary K Bhogendrajit said.

Bhogendrajit recalled a series of agitations that STDC had launched for the inclusion of Meitei in the ST list in the last eight years and said the agitations were suspended following positive assurances from the government.. “The agitations were suspended only after the state government had given assurances to take up the needful steps. However, no new development was seen till date,” the general secretary said.

He claimed a mammoth rally marched on the streets in Imphal on March 3, 2019 in which over one lakh individuals had participated and showed that the demand got the support of the entire population of Meitei community.

He said that it was not agreeable on the part of the STDC to the recent government’s statement given in the ongoing budget session of the state Assembly in which the chief minister sought more time for discussion into the matter.

Claiming that the chief minister had said “I (chief minister) do admit that the Meitei community need protection,” the general secretary demanded that the chief minister should not delay in sending the recommendation.


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