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STDCM observes Indigenous People Day : Call for ST tag on Meiteis raised again
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 18 2019: Citing Article 19 d and e which states that all citizens shall have the right to move freely, reside and settle in any part of the territory of India, Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) acting Chairperson Khaidem Mani contended that Meetei/Meitei is yet to become full-fledged citizens of India till now as they are not allowed to settle in any part of the State they choose.

He was speaking as a presidium member in the "International Day of the World's Indigenous People 2019" which was organized today by Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) at Lamyanba Shanglen, Palace Compund on the theme "Indigenous Languages and the necessity to enlist indigenous Meetei/Meitei in ST list" .



STDCM observes Indigenous People Day : Call for ST tag on Meiteis raised again
STDCM observes Indigenous People Day : Call for ST tag on Meiteis raised again


The MHRC acting Chairperson further said that inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the ST list is about protection of the community under a Constitutional provision as the community is a very small community and it is not about relegation to the status of tribes.

Thus, Meiteis/Meeteis and Bamons will remain as they are right now and their cultures and traditions will remain intact, he added.

Mani went on to argue that Meeteis/Meiteis are also deprived of justice (social, economic and political) and equality of status and of opportunity as stated in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.

The demand for inclusion Meitei/Meetei in ST category is a reasonable demand to protect their fundamental rights, he asserted.

As per documents provided to him by the organizers of the event, an Under Secretary of a relevant authority of the Government of India sought a recommendation for enlistment of Meitei/Meetei in the ST category from the State Government while conveying his willingness to approach the higher authorities.

Therefore, even a Cabinet decision of the State Government could recommend inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the ST list, he added.

Senior Advocate Irom Lalitkumar Singh pointed out that Meitei/Meetei community has their own distinct cultures and traditions.

Continuing that Meiteis/Meeteis are demanding a status within the framework of Constitution and the enlistment of communities in the ST category is enacted by considering their economic and social statuses, the Senior Advocate opined that Meitei/Meetei community can also be included in the ST list of India.

He added that the movement for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei community in the ST list of India will bear fruits if there is strong political will even though there are some sections in the same community who oppose the move.

Former acting Chairperson of MHRC Yambem Laba said that there are many people (Meiteis/Meeteis) who claim themselves as indigenous people (Meiteis/Meeteis), but oppose the idea of demanding Constitutional safeguards for protection of the whole community.

Asserting that the present BJP led NDA Government is closely linked with RSS which he alleged has been working for Hinduisation of India, he asked whether the same Government would ever accede to the demand for re-introduction of ILPS or a similar mechanism which would regulate influx of non-locals into the State.

Stating that the incessant influx of non-locals and immigrants has greatly affected the State, specially the Meitei/Meetei community, Laba observed that inclusion of Meitei/ Meetei in the ST category is the only way to protect Meitei/Meetei from the adverse impact of illegal influx of immigrants into the State.

Among others, STDCM president Dhiraj Yumnam, former working president and chief patron M Naudalenkhomba, former MU VC Professor Hijam Tombi also attended the function as presidium members.


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