TODAY -

What is the stand of Imphal ? Growing demand for ST tag
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: July 22, 2022 -



What is stopping the State Government from going ahead and sending a report to the Centre to get the Meiteis included in the Scheduled Tribe category of the Constitution of India ?

The Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur and World Meetei Council, the two bodies which have been at the fore-front in raising the ST demand for some time now may or may not know the factors re-sponsible for this, but whatever it is, this has not been spelt out to the public.

On the other hand, if the State Government has any mis-givings about the demand being raised, then it should have the conviction to say that it is not favourable to the idea of sending such a report so that the same may be digested by the people.

It would help all that much more, reasons for being averse to the idea of sending such a report are spelt out for public consumption and not to please anyone. This point is important.

Don't play to the gallery and with over 30 MLAs in the House of 60 and with others extending support too, the BJP led Government at Imphal has the needed number to take a stand on the demand.

Playing hide and seek cannot be the answer and the reason why this cannot be the answer should be clear to all.

It has the number to take tough decisions and one wonders why the BJP led Government should stall over such an important point.

To the Meiteis and those who back the call of the STDCM and WMC, the reason to raise the ST demand is plain and simple.

In the face of the growing threat to its land and resources and its indigeneity to Manipur, the ST tag is necessary.

To those who oppose it, the rea-sons could be many and one can still recall the debate between the All Tribal Students' Union, Manipur and some who back the ST tag for the Meiteis that was played out on the pages of The Sangai Express some years back.

According to the STDCM, New Delhi has been seeking a report on the matter from the State Government since 2013 and this means the issue goes back nearly ten years ago.

A clear indication that the demand, though not as vociferous as now, was there and it had reached the eyes and fears of New Delhi.

One wonders what stopped and is stopping Imphal from going ahead and sending the needed report.

Apart from this, it would help so much if the STDCM can furnish a copy of the commu-nication from the Centre to the State Government in 2013 to send the needed recommendations.

A copy of the communication from the Centre to Imphal will surely help those who want to know more than what the STDCM or WMC have to say at each media briefing or in each statement issued to the press.

It is also hoped that the STDCM and the WMC are aware of the recent report carried in the National dailies that the Centre is entertaining the idea of granting tribal status to the Trans-Guiri region in Sirmaur region of Himachal Pradesh.

This means that all communities living in the said region will come under the ST tag. When this will come to fruition is not yet clear, but at Assam too, the Centre had in 2019 agreed to grant the ST status on six communities namely Koch-Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Chutia, Matak, Moran and Tea Tribes.

This is yet to come to fruition, but this nonetheless means that the names of some communities are already in the consciousness of New Delhi for inclusion in the ST category.

One wonders whether the voice raised by STDCM and WMC will find any lakers at the places where it matters, that is in Imphal and New Delhi.

As noted earlier, it would be in the fitness of things for the BJP led Government here to spell out a stand before the public.

Constitutional protection, this is what the Meiteis may heed at this point of time when there are pressures on their scarce resources from different quarters.



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