TODAY -

STDCM defends ST demand for Meiteis
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 23 2018: Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM) has stated that demand for the inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the ST list will not affect the rights of any other community.

Speaking to media persons at Manipur Press Club today, STDCM joint secretary Keithellakpam Bhogendrajit narrated that the Coordinating Body of STDCM, has been demanding the inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei community in the ST list under Article 342 (1) of the Indian Constitution, and the body held the first meeting with the State Government on October 24 last year.

The next talk will be held at the earliest, he added.

Bhogendrajit said that as a part of the demand, the CBSTDCM has been organising a campaign for taking the feedback and opinions of imminent personalities and experts of the State regarding the inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei in the ST list, apart from organising numerous awareness programme at different leikais.

He informed that as a part of the campaign, a team of CBSTDCM and media persons interacted with former Minister RV Minthing at his residence at Lamphel on February 18 and during the interaction, the former Minister reminded that Meitei is an indigenous community of the State and as an indigenous community, they have every right to raise their demand.

However, All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) and All Tribal Rights Protection Forum Manipur (ATRFM) released a statement on February 20, reacting strongly against the interaction and claiming that the demand of inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the ST list has a hidden agenda and as such the association would oppose the demand tooth and nail.

Pointing out that associations appealed to the State Government as well as the authority concerned to refrain from recommending the demand claiming that Meitei/Meetei have different culture and traditions compared to other indigenous communities/people residing in the State, Bhogendrajit explained that STDCM has already made it extremely clear that it is not against any organisation nor any community and the association does no wish to debate or wage a war of words with any party nor will it resort to such tactics.

He said that no community has the right to oppose any other community which wishes to include itself in the ST list, adding that Meitei/Meetei community did not raise any objection when other communities got included in the ST list.

The decision to include the Meitei/Meetei community in the ST list, is to be taken by the Central Government and not by any organisation, he claimed.

Bhogendrajit said that the demand to include Meitei/Meetei in the ST list came so as to facilitate harmony and unity among the various communities residing in the State, and added that it is imperative for the State Government to take up steps which will not create any ill feelings between the diverse communities of the State.

He also appealed to ATSUM, ATRFM as well as all the organisations concerned to remain calm as the demand to include Meitei/Meetei in the ST list will not affect any other indigenous community.

STDCM working president M Naodalenkhomba and vice president, P Sonamani were also present at the meet.


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