TODAY -

PANDM, IPAK raise concern over ST demand
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 12 2019: Stressing on the threat posed by the Naga peace issue which many are saying will come to a conclusion this October, the People's Action for National Democratic Movement (PANDM) has come out strongly against the demand for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the ST list cautioning that the Framework Agreement issue cannot be sidelined by the ST demand in any way.

A statement issued by the secretary, IPR of PANDM today conveyed that the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM) has long been demanding for the Meitei community to be included in the ST list of the Constitution and more recently, as a part of its protest, STDCM even banned railway projects in the State.

Pointing out that as per STDCM, the Meitei community will get Constitutional protection, PANDM reasoned that simply making the demand for the sake of some benefits is not a right step.

Asking what additional benefits the Meitei community will get if they are on similar grounds as the tribal brethren, PANDM reasoned that if such a situation materialises, then the general quota will be taken away by outsiders.

The Meitei community, who persevere and shine at the National and International stage, will become lazy, it claimed.

On the other hand, PANDM asked what will be the benefit of getting into the ST list, which according to the concerned party will help in land protection, if the Meitei cannot properly utilise and own all the natural resources available in the said land.

The tribal people are shouting and crying because they fear that the abundant forest resources and raw materials available in their hills will be taken away by other parties forcefully, PANDM explained and claimed that inclusion of Meitei in the ST list will not be able to offer any tangible protection against the rapid influx of outsiders into the State.

Stating that the issue needs proper deliberation, PANDM reasoned that it does not believe the State Government will easily give commend the demand which has been raised by an association by claiming it to be the collective demand of the people of Manipur.

It is necessary for the apex bodies and CSOs of the State to come together and discuss this issue, it explained.

However, the more pressing issue is the Naga Framework Agreement, PANDM explained, stating that reports/rumours are circulating that the ST demand might be put forward in the limelight in a bid to soften the blow resulting from the potential conclusion of the Naga peace issue in October.

A mere demand like the ST demand cannot sideline a far more important and dangerous matter like the Naga integration demand, PANDM cautioned.

PANDM further cautioned that a more potent threat might get totally neglected in an attempt to fulfil the wish/demand of a few people.

On the other hand Indigenous People's Association of Kangleipak (IPAK) has expressed concern that the long running Naga issue might be brought to a close this October by trying to pacify the people by weay of giving ST status to the Meitei community.

A statement issued by the publicity secretary of IPAK today explained that Manipur is populated by many communities and giving ST status to the Meitei has the potential to result in communal and ethnical crisis, not to mention the stiff opposition from the tribal people.

On the other hand IPAK narrated that Meitei are people once had attained all the necessary criteria for forming a Nation State like having their own language, religion, identity, administrative system, written history etc and they were even recognised by the Governments of Burma and UK.

If the historical records and accomplishments are anything to by, how can the Meitei/Meetei be brought down and included in the ST list, it asked, alleging that giving ST status to the Meiteis will be another cause for tension among the communities of the State.

IPAK mentioned that it views the ST demand as a vote bank attempt by people with vested interest and cautioned that the ST demand needs more time for proper consideration.


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