TODAY -

Zeliangrong bodies oppose ST status to Meeteis
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, January 03 2022: Zeliangrong Civil Organisations (ZCOs), comprising Zeliangrong Baudi, Zeliangrong Youth Front and Zeliangrong Students' Union, on Monday appealed to the state government to be tactful regarding the demand for inclusion of Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe list of India, which, ZCOs said, "is a matter of great concern for the tribal people of Manipur who have been deprived of their rights despite the fact of certain Constitutional protection and safeguards provided in the Constitution" .

"In a state like Manipur where different communities have been settling for ages, it would be wise for every community to respect and honour the due shares of others.

Trying to trample upon others by way of adopting dominant policy further spoil the already strained relationship between the tribal and the non-tribal people of the state," ZCOs pointed out in a press release.

"The state had formulated a 100-point roster reservation policy with 31 percent reservation for tribal people at the time of job recruitment under the state government.

But the successive governments failed to implement the reservation policy thereby rendering the tribal people to have less representation in different departments.

"While this is one of the discontentment feelings of the tribal people of the state, the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur spearheaded by highly educated, influenced and economically much advanced group for inclusion of Metei/Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe category can be considered as an attempt to render the tribal people more suffering and more deprivation in the days to come.

There are various social and political issues of different groups of Manipur which have been lying unsolved for decades, therefore, social unrest cannot be ruled out if recommendation is made by the state govt for the Meitei community who are in all respects highly advanced group of Manipur state for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe list," the Zeliangrong bodies further said.

ZCOs then cautioned that if the state government without considering the sentiment of the people of the entire state of Manipur succumb to the pressure of the dominant group, it may lead to chaos and social unrest in the state, adding that "The tribal people have been silently observing the situation hence time may come where different groups of the state may resort to any available means in order to make their discontentment heard" .

"The only assets of the tribal people of Manipur are their ancestral land and the representation of the tribal people in the employment sector is only through Scheduled Tribe reservation policy.

But their land is now threatened and their representation in the employment is going to be deprived of, therefore apprehension and insecurity feeling is high in their minds due to Meitei community demanding inclusion in the Scheduled tribe category.

"Meitei community of Manipur enjoys different reservation categories such as SC, OBC and treated the unreserved category as their exclusive quota in most cases.

The presence of tribal people in the employment sector is seen only because of the Scheduled Tribe reservation policy.

If the Scheduled Tribe reservation policy is diluted by way of granting Scheduled Tribe category to Meitei community who are highly educated, highly influenced and economically advanced group, the chance of tribal people participation and their representation in the employment sector may be on exceptional case and even the reservation Assembly Constituency seats of the hills districts may be contested by Meitei candidates," ZCOs continued.

"The present arrangement of Manipur state which laid parameter and categorized between the tribal and non-tribal people in terms of land holding ownerships and reservation in employment sector has put together the different communities to live together thus far.

Therefore, the Zeliangrong Civil Organisations in the interest of the people of the state urges the state government not to take any hasty decision regarding the Scheduled Tribe demand issue just to please the interest of the single group without taking into account the view and opinion of every community who are the stake holders of the issue," the Zeliangrong bodies added.


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