IMPHAL, June 25: The Schedule Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur today staged a sit in protest at Keishampat Community Hall on its demand for inclusion of the Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribes list of India.
The committee also submitted a memorandum to the State Chief Minister later in the afternoon.
The protestors commenced their demonstration since early morning.
They left the demonstration site at around 2 pm and went to submit the memorandum to the Chief Minister at his bungalow.
According to the committee, it wants to bring about a cohesive and harmonious society in Manipur based on ethnic social equality.
The memorandum stated that the inclusion of the Meiteis in the ST list would safeguard the ethnic identity of the Meiteis as an indigenous people of Manipur and prevent their extinction as well as becoming a minority in Manipur.
This will also help the constitutional social division of the indigenous people of the State as tribal hills and the non-tribals of plains, it continued.
The memorandum sought constitutional safeguard to the valley districts of Manipur as Scheducled Area under the Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution as in the hill districts of the State and to create a composite tribal State of Manipur with equal respect for all indigenous communities.
The demonstrators while marching towards the Chief Minister`™s bungalow held placards reading `Remove the divide and rule policy amongst the indigenous people of Manipur`™, `Save Yelhoumee`™, `Safeguard to valley area of Manipur as schedule area as that of the Hill area`™.
A strong police team however, stopped them at Nityaipat Chuthek. Only four representatives were allowed to proceed further and submit their memorandum to the Chief Minister.
The four who went to submit the memorandum included committee president Dr Y Mohendra Singh, general secretary retd. Lt Col L Lokendro Singh, L Angousana Sharma and K Thaebema.
One of the agitators left also said that the four would ask the State government to pass a resolution during the upcoming session of the State Assembly and recommend to the Centre to include Meetei/ Meitei in the ST list of India.
Any failure on the part of the government to meet the demands would result in stronger forms of agitation from the committee, he said.
Further according to the agitators, the committee has already submitted a memorandum on their demand on December 18, 2012 and another memorandum with the same demand to the then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh on July 10, 2013.
However, no steps were taken by the State government even though the then PM in response to the memorandum had asked the State government to furnish specific recommendation along with latest socio-economic survey from reputed organisation, the agitators said.
The State government has failed to provide a reply to the earlier memorandum even though it has been more than two years since it was submitted, they lamented.