Govt to form panel to review ST status of Kuki
Permission to 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' after security review: CM Biren

Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, January 09 2024: Chief Minister N Biren has disclosed that the government will constitute a committee with representatives from all communities in the state to review the ST status of Kuki, and send its recommendation to the Centre.

Biren made the revelation to media persons after attending the 190th death anniversary of Maharaja Gambhir Singh at Canchipur, Imphal on Tuesday.

Responding to queries from journalists about the recent letter from the Ministry of tribal affairs regarding the ST status of Kuki tribe, the CM said that Kukis are included in the ST list but considering the recent letter from the Ministry, there is the need for reviewing the ground reason behind granting the ST status.

In this regard, the government will form a committee with representatives from all communities and send requisite recommendation as proposed by the ministry, he said.

The committee consisting representatives of all recognised tribes in the state will have thorough deliberation on the matter and send the recommendation, which is a prerequisite to process inclusion or removal of a tribe from the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list of India, he said.

The recommendation was necessitated as the state government was asked by the Centre to examine a representation seeking the deletion of the "Nomadic Chin-Kuki" from the list of ST in Manipur, which has 34 government-recognised tribes.

The union tribal affairs ministry sought the recommendation in reply to a representation seeking to delist the "nomadic Chin-Kuki" from the ST list made by Maheshwar Thounaojam, national secretary of the Republican Party of India (Athawale) .

In a letter dated December 26, 2023, sent to the union government, Maheshwar claimed that the addition of a few entries in Manipur's ST list over the years - such as "Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes", "Zou", and "Any Kuki tribes" - is objectionable.

Since then the union government in an office memorandum to Manipur said the process of inclusion or exclusion from the ST list requires the proposal to originate from the concerned state government.

Hence, it was sending the representation to the Manipur government for its recommendation.

Acting upon his representation to the Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda on December 11, 2023, the Central Government asked the Manipur government to examine a representation seeking the deletion of the "Nomadic Chin-Kuki" from the list of Scheduled Tribes in Manipur.

In the letter, the Union government said the process of inclusion or exclusion from the ST list requires the proposal to originate from the concerned State government and hence it was sending the representation to the state government for its recommendation.

Maheshwar, according to the Hindu report, cited a Supreme Court judgement from January 2011 to suggest that "all Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis) shall be original inhabitants of India".

He then argued that in light of this judgement, "the Kukis including Zomis of Manipur do not qualify as scheduled Tribes of Manipur on the ground that they are not original inhabitants of Manipur".

Maheshwar contended that indigeneity should be the principal criterion for defining Scheduled Tribes in the country, further requesting the government to accordingly determine "who should be correctly in the Scheduled Tribes list of Manipur" , also making a case for the Meiteis' inclusion.

He contended that the entries "Any Mizo (Lushai) Tribes" and "Zou" were added to the ST list in 1956, despite the absence of these entries in the report of the Kaka Kalelkar Commission, which had also specifically recommended that individual tribe names should be mentioned in the list as opposed to "ambiguous" tribe names.

To another poser, the chief minister said permission for the Congress party's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra may be granted by the BJP-led Manipur government "only after a security review" .

CM Biren Singh said that grant of permission to the Congress rally "is under active consideration" .

Reports from various security agencies are being reviewed.

A decision will be taken only after assessment of the reports, he said.

The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra of the Congress party will begin in Manipur on January 14 and will culminate in Mumbai on March 20.The BJP-led government is under pressure from the opposition Congress as the state government has so far been unable to grant the go-ahead signal for the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra scheduled to begin from Imphal with Palace Compound as the flag-off venue.

"The people of Manipur have suffered a lot due to continuous ongoing violence in the state.

During Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, Rahul Gandhi will meet people and fight for their justice," said Congress leader Sachin Pilot.

Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, led by Rahul Gandhi, will get launched in Imphal and traverse through 107 kilometres spanning four districts of strife-torn Manipur in one day.

(With inputs from agencies) .

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