TODAY -

Bodies oppose ST demand 'Manipur existed as a princely State'
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 16 2016: Kangleipak Women's Welfare Association (KWWA) and All Manipur Youth Progressive Committee (AMYPCO) have opposed the demand for inclusion of Meiteis/Meeteis in the ST list.

In a statement, KWWA said that it is wrong to assume that Meetei/Meitei would become an advanced community if it is enlisted as an ST.

The association observed that people need to minutely discuss whether Meeteis/Meiteis are tribals or non-tribals or proto-tribals.

For administrative convenience, British-Indian Government divided the North East region as 'excluded areas' and 'partially excluded areas' .

Later, the Government identified tribal areas according to the White Paper recommendation of Govt of India Act 1935.On the other hand, 5th and 6th Schedules were never enforced in Manipur as it was not a tribal State but an independent Nation-State.

Manipuri kings were never recognised/known as tribal chiefs, the association said.

In Assam as well, Tais and Rashongshis have been demanding ST status.

However, the Government of India has never fulfilled this demand as the communities are not tribal communities, the women body said.

Similarly, the Government would never enlist Meiteis/Meeteis as STs as they do not fulfill the criteria of being recognised as a tribal community, the women's body said.

The high esteem which the Meiteis/Meeteis used to maintain would crumble once they become ST.

People need to understand that Manipur identifies itself as a Nation-State before the United Nations as it was once a glorious princely State which could expand its boundary to neighbouring kingdoms, the association added.

KWWA further said that Manipur was not annexed by the Indian Union as a tribal area but as an independent princely State.

Stating that it would be wrong to lower the status of Meiteis/Meeteis with the intention to grab some facilities, KWWA further said that the Government would cut down these quotas/facilities from time to time.

Reservations for STs had already been reduced from 33 per cent to 7.5 per cent now and ST would be no longer exempted from income tax payment etc.

Some people think that Meeteis/Meiteis would be able to settle in hill areas if they become STs.

However, it is a wrong notion, KWWA said and added that Meeteis/Meiteis may settle in hill areas if MLR and LR Act is amended.

Stating that enlistment as STs would not bring social equality, the women body said that social equality can be brought only through eradication of poverty and backwardness.

On the other hand, AMYPCO in a statement said that instead of pursuing the demand for ST status, Meeteis/Meiteis need to contemplate on restoring unity among people of different communities.

The committee said that people need to be careful of divisive forces.

It further said that Manipur must endeavour to become a developed State through liberation of its social system from the ills of corruption and mis-governance instead of concentrating on becoming STs.

Manipur was known to the world as an independent Nation having its own Constitution before it was annexed by the Indian union, AMYPCO said.

As such, the world would take Manipur as a weak State which is unable to survive on its own if the majority community brings down its status as tribals.

As the Constitution of India does not have any clause which may protect the unity, integrity, right to life of Manipuris, there is need to look for an alternative to get rid of the hardships faced by the people of Manipur, the committee said.


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