TODAY -

Thousands rally for ST status to Meitei/Meetei community
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 03 2019: Thousands of people took out a mega rally here today demanding inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe list of the Constitution.

The mass rally was flagged off from THAU Ground, Thangmeiband by titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba at around 11.30 am and it wound up at Hapta Kangjeibung where a huge public meeting was held.

The public meeting resolved to impose a 36 hour general strike all over the State with effect from 6 pm of March 9 in case the State Government fails to send necessary recommendation to the Government of India by March 6 for enlistment of Meitei/Meetei in ST category.



Thousands rally for ST status to Meitei/Meetei community
Thousands rally for ST status to Meitei/Meetei community


It also resolved that STDCM and the Meitei/Meetei community would launch a campaign against political parties and candidates who do not support the demand for inclusion of the community in ST category.

Moreover, the railway works being implemented in the State would be banned indefinitely from March 11, according to another resolution adopted at the public meeting.

The mass rally which was held under the aegis of the STDCM passed through Khoyathong, North AOC, Minuthong, Khurai Ahongpung (Telipati), Soibam Leikai, Nongmeibung Nambam Chuthek and Konung Mamang before winding up at Hapta Kangjeibung.

In addition to a large number of students, Meira Paibis and common people belonging to Meitei community, representatives of some political parties too took part in the rally cum public meeting.

Slogans like "Meitei/Meetei must be enlisted in ST category", "Indigenous people of the land must be protected" etc were raised throughout the course of the rally and the participants carried placards and festoons which read, "We stand for ST status", "Save Manipur, save indigenous people", "We demand Government recommendation", "No ST status, no vote" etc.

Speaking at the public meeting, Leishemba Sanajaoba said that Meitei/Meetei, one of the indigenous communities of Manipur, are staring at an extremely grave situation.

The valley portion of Manipur inhabited by Meitei/Meetei community comprises just 8 per cent of the total geographical area of the State.

If the hills, lakes and the premises of schools, offices and other institutions are taken into account, the area available to the community is just around 3.8 per cent of the State's total geographical area, Sanajaoba said.

This tiny valley area is home to several communities including ones who were unknown or unseen in the past.

As such, population density of Imphal valley has been rising at an alarming rate, he said.

In the face of these ever-multiplying threats, Meitei/ Meetei community has been living without any Constitutional safeguards.

Even though the community overlooked or did not pay much attention to these threats which have been lurking in the horizon since the past, the community has now realised the critical situation they are facing but the State Government has done nothing to protect community, decried the titular king.

He remarked that the demand for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the ST list is a question of survival for the community.

He then appealed to the State Government to take up all measures necessary for enlistment of Meitei/Meetei in ST category.

The titular king also appealed to all the hill people to understand the grave situation staring at Meitei/Meetei community and withdraw all objections to the demand for enlistment of the community in ST category.

Many other speakers asserted that time for respectful appeals has passed as the State Government paid no heed to the repeated appeals to do the needful for enlistment of Meitei/Meetei in ST category.

It's time for the community to snatch their right (to ST status) forcefully, they said.

When their living space is shrinking day by day, Meitei/Meetei would not be able to protect their identity, culture and traditions.

Enlistment of Meitei/Meetei in ST category is the only plausible means to counter the multiple threats being faced by the community, said the speakers.

By deliberately refraining itself from sending a recommendation to the Government of India along with an ethnography and socio-economic caste census report, the State Government is not providing a single space to consider the demand for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in ST list, they lamented.

The public meeting was graced by Leishemba Sanajaoba, STDCM president Prof Y Mahendra and working president Naodalenkhomba as presidium members.


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