ST status demand : Two opposing voices Don’t punch below the belt

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Tough to say whether the debate is healthy or not. But it is interesting to note that two opposing voices have come to the fore, with regard to the demand that the Meiteis be included in the list of the Scheduled Tribe list. It is not the case of The Sangai Express to say which side carries more weight but it is interesting to see that two opposing voices have come to the fore on this count. Difference of opinion is welcome and ought to be encouraged and here is hoping that the ongoing debate does not get reduced to an exercise of punching below the belt. Opinions should be free and without prejudices and this should dawn on the two sides as well as the fence sitters. Let the debate be lively and let it go beyond the statements issued to the press from time to time. Take the debate to the university and the educational institutes and let young people participate. Obviously there cannot be a winner or a loser here, but let everyone speak their mind out and not only through the media. And speaking here should mean thoughts and ideas from the grey cells and not muscle power or for that matter lung power. Any debate should ideally come to a meeting point, but given the way in which the current debate has been going on, it is doubtful if a meeting point can be chalked out but for the sake of the people, efforts ought to be made to come to such a point in the future.
It is for the people or to be more precise for the Meitei people. And it is only right that the Meitei people be encouraged to come forward and take part in the debate. For starters let it be the responsibility of everyone to see that the current debate does not become an exercise in mud slinging. It is still not clear how the Ministry of Tribal Affairs or New Delhi will treat the demand that the Meiteis be included in the ST list but it has already started kicking up a dust here, if the recent statements issued by either side to the media is anything to go by. A sure indication that the ST demand is today a major issue and this is where the State Government should not be sleeping over the matter. The Centre too should take note of it and see what is the best course of action to be taken up. Merely ignoring it will be akin to leaving a crucial issue to two opposing sides which cannot see eye to eye on the said issue. Too early to predict the future but the debate is raging on and this is where it becomes important for the two sides to ensure that the debate is not reduced to a confrontationist stand.

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