Convention censures ST tag demand

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IMPHAL, May 14: Another public convention held today at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen, Palace Compound here today under the aegis of the Protection and Preservation Committee, Manipur (PPCM) on the topic ‘Scheduled Tribe Status in Manipur’ deprecated the ongoing campaign for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in ST category under the Constitution of India.
Speaking at the gathering, social activist Dr Dhanabir Laishram appealed to all concerned not to create issues out of nothing in pursuit of political career.
People need to give up the habit of creating issues while scrambling for some key posts of civil society organisations.
In this age of liberalization, privatization and globa- lization, one need to focus one’s energy and expertise on how to bring rapid development in Manipur rather than creating confusion among the masses by way of stoking unreasonable issues, Dr Dhanabir said.
Dr Khomdon Lisam remarked that neighbouring States like Nagaland and Mizoram have been clamouring for the Manipur’s territory on account of lack of unity among the people of the State.
He went on to ask what are the benefits likely to be entitled to Meitei/Meetei when they are enlisted in ST category and if anyone can guarantee whether all the demands would be fulfilled.
Although India is said to be a democratic country, one needs to ponder whether India is a democracy in the real sense of the term, Dr Khomdon said.
MB College Associate Professor Dr Homen Thangjam remarked that the demand for enlistment of Meiteis in ST category lacks rationale when Irom Sharmila’s crusade against the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act is side-lined.
People who don’t understand the history of Manipur thoroughly think that Meiteis are backward.
Prof Chinglen Maisnam of MU Economics Department too opined that the demand for ST status lacks rationale.
ST demand would not bring anything positive and discussing the matter is nothing but wastage of time and energy, he asserted.
UCM president E Johnson observed that raising the demand for ST status when the State is embroiled in many crucial issues lacks justification. It would be more fruitful to discuss about modifying the existing reservation system of the State.
AMESCO advisor Riyang Koireng asked the proponents of ST status whether they want degradation of Manipur (Meiteilon) which has been already listed in the 8th Schedule to the status of dialogue and Manipuri classical dance to the level of folk dance.
Enlistment of Meiteis in ST category would not foster cordiality with hill people but it would turn out to be putting oil in fire.
One PPCM member appealed media houses to measure the lengths of the news reports issued by proponents and opponents of the ST demand and make them somewhat equivalent in length.
Dr Arambam Lokendro who moderated the convention said that if the demand for ST status should be pushed ahead there should be consensus on the issue among the Meiteis/Meeteis.
Around 700 people attended the convention which was presided by PPCM convenor Dr Y Mani Khuman.

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