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STDCM demands ST status for Meitei

STDCM demands ST status for Meitei
A motorcycle rally in Imphal street moblising people on proposed rally demanding ST status for Meetei on Friday.
Correspondent IMPHAL, Mar 1 | Publish Date: 3/1/2019 12:14:14 PM IST

Schedule Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM) Friday threatened to boycott political parties, particularly ruling parties, if its demand is not met before the enforcement of Model Code of Conduct for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections 2019.

STDCM has been pressing the state government for recommending the Centre for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei community of Manipur in the Scheduled Tribe list of India.

If the state government fails to send the recommendation before the enforcement of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, expected to come up April/May, the committee will boycott the ruling parties in the elections, convenor of STDCM Laishram Romesh said today. Other political parties against the demand of the STDCM will also be boycotted, the convenor further warned. Addressing a news conference at its office in Imphal, Laishram demanded that the state government must send the mandatory recommendation of the state government for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the ST list.

The recommendation must be sent before the coming up of Model Code of Conduct for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, he added. He recalled that STDCM has been demanding inclusion of Meitei/ Meetei in the ST list under Article 342(1) of the Constitution of India since 2012.

“We are demanding ST status so that we can protect our rights and identity through a Constitutional safeguard. However, till date, the state government is yet to recommend it to the Centre which is mandatory for the Central government for consideration,” he said.

He said that Meitei/Meetei is the only community among all the indigenous communities of the Northeast which has not yet been enlisted in the ST category. State chief minister N Biren Singh had given a green signal to the demand of the STDCM. However, he and his government did not take up any visible step to furnish the mandatory recommendation, he lamented. Asserting that Tai-Ahom community of Assam which has a population of about 40 lakh was recently enlisted in the ST category along with Koch-Rajbongshi, Moran, Mutok, Chutia and Tea tribes, the convenor claimed that almost the communities in the northeast region have been included in the ST list.

However, Meiteis/Meeteis who occupy just 10 per cent of the total geographical area were not yet given any Constitutional safeguard even though they were the most threaten indigenous group in the region. The convenor, while appealing for mass participation in the proposed public rally on the streets in Imphal on March 3, purged the people of all walks of life to participate in the rally and extend moral, physical and monetary support to the rally by suspending their duties of the day.

He announced that the proposed rally will be flagged off from Imphal’s THAU Ground at 10 am would wind up at Hapta Kangjeibung after passing through streets of the capital city. At the concluding part of the rally, there will be a public convention in which some resolutions would be adopted, Laishram said while reiterating STDCM warning to the political parties. Earlier, the STDCM carried out a motorcycle rally on the streets in Imphal to mobilise the people on the proposed March 3 rally.

Placards with slogans like “No ST no vote”, “Save the indigenous people”, “We demand ST status for Meetei/Meitei”, “Save Manipur save indigenous people, etc. were displayed during the rally.


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