Indigenous people have the right to save themselves: RV Mingthing

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IMPHAL, August 9: The Indigenous status is important for people like us because it will save us in the future and hence we need to understand the status of the indigenous thoroughly. This was stated by former minister RV Mingthing while speaking with the media on the sidelines of the observation of World Indigenous People’s Day at the Tribal Research Institute where he was the chief guest. 

He said that the indigenous status is neither given by the Indian government nor the State government but the United Nations. The UN specially states that the first habited communities in a particular place should be known as Indigenous people, Minthing said, and we must stand united for this because Indigenous people have the right to save themselves from annihilation. 

Stressing that the hills and the valley are one, the former minister said people of the State need to stay united because there were no non-tribals or tribals in the past. 

History is a witness of us coexisting in this small hilly region, he added. 

Minthing said, “The Inner Line Permit system was put in place in our State from 1947 to 50 but was annulled by the then Chief Commissioner Himmat Singh in 1950. The Central government and State government must discuss this issue in the interest of the people. Now, the reimplementation of ILPS is vital in our State. Both the Central and State government have big responsibilities because they must let us know why it was annulled.” 

An ILP system both acceptable to both the Central and State governments for bringing solution at the official level should be put in place, he added. 

The Schedule Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur observed the World Indigenous People’s Day under the theme ‘Save the Indigenous people of Manipur’ at the conference hall of Tribal Research Institute, Chingmeirong. 

Meanwhile in his key note address, Retd Lt Col Laishram Lokendra said that when Meiteis are recognised as Indigenous people by the Indian government, ILP system will be implemented. 

Quoting the UN declaration that defines indigenous people under its chatter as people in an independent country who are regarded as indigenous by the government, he said it was unfortunate that Meiteis are not considered as indigenous by the Indian Government. 

From 2011, there have been demands for including Meiteis under schedule tribes because by being included among the schedule tribes, our land can be saved under the fifth schedule of Indian constitution, he said adding that the demand is only for getting the status of indigenous people to save Manipur and not for the quotas or reservations and the hill areas.

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