TODAY -

STDCM to continue batting for ST status to Meiteis
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 15 2017: Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (STDCM) has pledged to continue its movement demanding enlistment of Meetei/Meitei in ST list under Article 342(1) of the Indian Constitution until the demand is met.

After a talk with the Govt of Manipur on Oct 24 as the first step which turned out to be positive, the STDCM is well prepared to go any length to bring the movement to a logical conclusion.

In a statement, STDCM said that it held meetings with its implementing agency, Coordinating Body on Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (CBSTDCM) where the current scenarios were deliberated in detail.

As a measure to convince sceptics, five district coordinators of CBSTDCM have been appointed.

These district coordinators will continue organising awareness and sensitisation programmes at every locality.

To assist the district coordinators, a coordination committee each will be set up in each district of Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Thoubal and Kakching.

It urged all concerned to contact their respective coordinators and assist them in executing necessary actions.

It called upon all concerned to remain alert about the next move of the Govt and be prepared for showing collective strength.

STDCM has come across different sections who oppose and support the demand for enlistment of Meetei/Meitei in the Constitution ST list.

This is the essence of a democracy.

STDCM duly acknowledges the contributions of all individuals/groups for sharing varied views on the issue.

It further said that the demand is not to convert Meetei/ Meitei into ST, but to include Meetei/Meitei-in the ST list.

No community can convert into a tribe if they so please.

Tribe will remain as tribe.

Meetei/Meiteis fulfil the qualification of a 'Tribe' under the ambit of Article 342 (1) although they are not included in the ST list.

They deserve to be included in the ST list and as such STDCM is placing its aspirations to the Govt to include Meetei/Meiteis in the ST list, it said.

STDCM deeply deliberated on the pre-merger status of Manipur (before Sept 21, 1949) and it does not have an iota of doubt about the history of the land.

However, Meetei/Meiteis were categorised as General based on a report to the 'Minority Commission' by some leaders after Manipur merged with the Indian Union.

It then stated that several factors have prompted some to raise the question as to why the people wish to be included in the ST list 6 8 years after Manipur was merged into the Indian Union.

The first answer it said is a misconception that the Meetei Meitei will be downgraded to a lower status if included in the, ST list.

There is also fear about a change in the religion of the people. There is also apprehension that the ultimate goal would not, be achieved if included in the ST list and the people (who are masters) will remain enslaved.

Protagonists of the demand for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei -into ST list are threatened and have been presented as standing against the people.

Citing the latest Supreme Court ruling of Jan 5, 2011 which said that the present STs are the descendants of the original, indigenous people or the adivasis of the country, it said that no one should coerce any one to be included or not in the ST list.

Likewise in the case of SC community of the State, the wisdom to be included in the ST or not should be left only, to them.

There was flurry of exchange of views between an influential hill based organisation and Meetei pro-ST individuals in recent days.

As such, STDCM does not feel the need to reiterate its stand on that.

It said there is no need for apprehension about Meetei grabbing STs land or not, the Govt should decide on the matter.

The Govt should ensure not to hurt the sentiments of any of the communities living in the State.

It also urged all concerned not to trespass into the affairs of others.


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