Tuesday, October 4, 2022

STDC reignites campaign for ST status for Meitei/Meetei

Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (STDC) Manipur on Friday stressed the need of putting in place a protection mechanism for the Meetei/Meitei community before the arrival of train in Imphal.
STDC president Yumnam Dhiraj said that the community needs a constitutional safeguard before the arrival of the train in Manipur and scheduled tribe status was the only option.
The president was talking to reporters on the sideline of a sit-in-protest held by the members of the STDC in Imphal’s Keishampat Junction to mark the beginning of the fresh movement of the committee.
“No ST status, no rail line,” read one of the placards displayed at the protest site. Other read, “We demand ST status for Meetei/Meitei,” “We want action no words”, “Meetei/Meitei needs constitutional protection,” etc.
STDC has been campaigning for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the scheduled tribe list of India under Article 342(1) of the Constitution.
The committee has been pressing the Central government to include it in the ST list since 2013 by submitting many representations to the Prime Minister, Union home minister, Union minister of tribal affairs and others.
However, no concrete response was received from the Union and state governments till date, Yumnam lamented.
He stressed the need for a constitutional safeguard of the Meetei/Meitei community by granting scheduled tribe status while expressing worry if granting the status is delayed, the community will be reduced to a minority. “The community is vulnerable to become refugees in their own ancestral land with a proud nation for more than 5000 years,” he said. The president alleged that the Centre delayed in consideration of the demand due to failure on the part of the Manipur government to do the needful.
He asserted that railway line reaching Manipur is no reason to be happy as there were possibilities of an overwhelming number of migrants arriving in the state.
It may push the indigenous Meetei/Meitei to extinction. As such, the community needs a constitutional safeguard, he reiterated. The president warned that if the state government remains silent without doing the needful, STDC was ready to launch intense forms of agitations with people’s support.