TODAY -

IM's lobbying tactics: Meeteis snatch away tribal's share
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, January 15 2013: NSCN-IM which has been waging war against Indian Government for quite a long time may have come down from the demand of sovereignty to the demand of an alternative arrangement for the Nagas in Manipur, but all along the Naga rebel group has been lobbying the Central leaders with the blame that Meeteis are eating up the shares of the tribals to get their demands.

The State Government has also been remaining silent over the lobbying tactics employed by the NSCN-IM and closing its ears to the false charges that Meeteis are diverting the funds meant for the development of the hills and discriminating the tribals, and that no developmental programmes have been taken up by the State Government in the hills, etc.

All these tactics are being employed to destroy the age-old relationship of brotherhood between the people of the hills and the valleys, almost successfully.

But the factsheet says that the literacy rate among the tribals in the State has been increasing leaps and bounds, and with special quota given to the tribals, almost all the important high posts of the Government are being occupied by people from tribal community.

The number of tribal employees in all the Government departments has also increased over the year.

On the other hand, the status of Meeteis who are bracketed in the general category is on declining mode day by day.

It is expected that after a few years, all the major and important posts of the State Government would be taken away by the tribals.

Official sources revealed that the population of the State is roughly 27 lakhs.

Among them, Meeteis and Pangals together constitute 17 lakhs and the remaining are scattered among the various tribal groups settling in the State.

But when it comes to number of important posts shared, among the 35 IPS officers in the State, 17 are tribals, 6 are non-Manipuris and only 12 are Meeteis.

Among the 61 IAS officers in the State, 20 are tribals; 21 are posted from outside the State while the remaining 20 are Meiteis, the so called majority community of the State which constitutes 70% of the whole population.

Moreover, the said 20 Meetei IAS officers also include Meetei Pangal and Meiteis belonging to SC category.

Sources further informed that there are 48 MCS officers in the State, out of which 16 of them are tribals while the remaining 31 are shared among the Meeteis, Meetei Pangals and Meeteis belonging to SC category.

The total number of tribals employed as III and IV Grade employees under the State Government are 30-40% of the total employees and their number in the State force is also very high because of the quota system.

So, even though NSCN-IM and its frontal organizations claim that the Manipur Police Commandos are altogether Meetei forces, in reality there are a large number of tribals in Manipur Police Commnados and this is proved by the fact that a number of tribals are awarded by the government for their service as Police Commandos.

This fact is recorded in the files of the Home Department.

Nonetheless, there can be no denial that the number of tribal employees in professional services namely doctors, engineers and teachers are very less.

However, at the time of recruiting Primary teachers under ADCs, emphasis was all on tribal candidates and there is not a single quota for the Meeteis.

Interestingly, among the tribals who have been recruited as teachers under ADCs, a large number of them allegedly have connection with NSCN-IM or are relatives of its cadres, sources disclosed.

Even in the political sphere, the tribals are given their due shares.

Though the Chief Minister of the State is a Meetei, the Deputy Chief Minister is a tribal, who is also in charge of the President of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee.

Among the 12 Cabinet Ministers, 4 of them are tribals and among the three MPs of the State only one is a Meetei while the remaining two are tribals.

The tribals of the State also got their share at the time of appointing Parliamentary Secretaries.

Over and above this, Rishang Keishing, who is presently an MP in Rajya Sabha, had been the Chief Minister of Manipur for 15 years, thus becoming the longest serving Chief Minister of the State.

Having an area of 22,327 sq km, Manipur is a land with 90% of its geographical area covered by hills; the remaining 10% is valley.

There are a number of tribal villages in the plains namely Keishamthong, Kakhulong, Majorkhul, Dewlahlane, Nagaram, Paomei Colony, New Checkon, Mahabali, Old and New Lambulane, Thangmeiband, Sawombung, Sangaiprou, Ramji Tera, Keikhu, etc.

There is specific rule which allows the people of the hills to live, settle and buy lands in the plains.

However, the people from the plains are neither allowed to settle nor buy lands in the hills.

From all these facts, there is no way in which Meeties are discriminating tribals in the State and it is believed that Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh highlighted all these facts to the Union Home Minister during their meeting on January 11, sources added.


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