TODAY -

Demand for Constitutional safeguard : The task ahead of STDCM
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: February 26 2019 -



Constitutional safeguard.

This is central to the demand raised by the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur (STDCM) and the rally planned on March 3 is yet another step to be taken up to pile the pressure on the BJP led Government at Imphal to send its recommendation to the Centre so that the Meiteis are included in the ST list of the Constitution of India.

How successful the proposed rally will be is anybody’s guess, but significant to note that a student body, the Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) has thrown its weight behind the proposed rally and has taken one more step in asking the political parties to spell out their stand on the ST status demand for the Meiteis.

It was along this line that leaders of the Pan Meetei Convention (PMC) met former Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam at New Delhi recently and urged him to use his influence to talk to some Naga civil society organisations not to oppose the demand that the Meiteis be included in the ST list.

PMC and now DESAM and it is more than clear that the demand for ST status for the Meiteis has spread beyond the STDCM with others coming on board to support the demand.

There may be others in line too who may join the ST status demand for the Meiteis and such a development will only add more gist and more muscle, if one may add, to the demand.

How the BJP led Government at Imphal will respond is not yet known, but everything suggest that the STDCM will not bow out without a fight and this is where immense pressure can be expected to be mounted on the State Government.

On the other hand the advocates of the ST status for the Meiteis will also have to face the opposition not only from some organisations of the hills but also from within the Meitei community who do not see eye to eye with the demand.

How successful will the STDCM be in taking the others with them remains to be seen, but already PMC and DESAM have come out in the open to back this demand and as noted earlier, it will not be surprising if more join the ST status band wagon.

If one goes by the written inputs received at the media houses, then one may safely conclude the ST status demand campaign is on and this is not a recent development.

Likewise the opposition to the demand has also been vociferous and the arguments or debates that ensued between the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur and votaries of the ST demand for the Meiteis in the local dailies, particularly in The Sangai Express, underlines this reality.

All the more reason for the STDCM to reach out to those opposing their demand and see what may be worked out to take them along too.

The task is clear.

Not only apply pressure on the State Government, but also reach out to those who are against the demand.

This is the task ahead of the STDCM and the others which have backed the ST demand for the Meiteis.



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