TODAY -

DAMMS urges STDCM to 'study' ST demand
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 13 2019: The Delhi Association of Manipur Muslim Students' (DAMMS) has urged the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM) to minutely study the demand for inclusion of Meiteis in the ST list and the alleged communal disharmony it is creating in Manipur.

It also urged the STDCM to acknowledge the principle of social justice and the responsibility that one community has towards others when it comes to social justice and harmony.

A press release issued by DAMMS today said that indigenous people's movement occurs all over the world where there are oppressed, conquered and colonised people and Manipur also saw the rise of indigenous people movement recently, with the demand for implementation of Inner Line Permit System in the State.

However, the demand for the rights of indigenous people has now shifted to the demand for the inclusion of the Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe list, it stated and added that the theoretical explanation of the shift is that the indigenous people are the same as tribals in the Indian context.

It claimed that Pangals settled in Manipur during the early 17th century before Hinduisation of the valley and even before the significant Brahmin migration in the Imphal valley.

Since then, the Pangal community has contributed enormously in the historical processes and developments which have been taking place in Manipur.

There is no denying that Pangal, just like Bamons, is indigenous to the valley of Manipur, it added.

It then stated that both Pangals and Meiteis are listed as Other Backward Classes (OBC) as of now and the listing of these two communities in the same category is problematic given the vast economic and social inequality between these two communities in the context of Manipur.

Pangal community, which is around two and a half lakh population is one of the most marginalised communities in Manipur, it claimed adding that with the STDCM now urging the Government that the Meities should become ST, the Pangal community, who has been classified as OBC along with the Meitei, is in a precarious situation.

If the Meiteis are listed as ST and Pangals remain as OBC, then it would be a against the principle of social justice which underlies the categorisation of community as OBC/SC/ST, DAMMS reasoned.

The four categories, General, OBC, SC and ST, express the social and economic hierarchy in general.

If the Pangals remain OBC and Meiteis become ST, then it would mean that Meitei are less economically and socially capable than Pangals, it added.

It further continued that whether Meitei-Loi communities who are already in the SC list will be listed as ST or not remains unclear and added that the same problem persists if they are not listed under ST because SC is above ST in the general social and economic hierarchy in India.

There are many confusions involving the demand for inclusion of Meitei in the ST list and moreover, the ST demand has evoked strong oppositions from the hill people of Manipur.

Nagas and Kukis are vehemently opposing the ST for Meiteis demand and their concern is justified as different communities are staying in Manipur together in harmony and a section getting included in the ST list matters to others who are already listed as ST such as Nagas or Kukis, DAMMS reasoned.

Those demanding the inclusion of Meitei in the ST list, should acknowledge that the demand is creating suspicion and tension among the different communities living in Manipur and disturbing the communal harmony as well, it added.


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