Meitei Pangals join ST demand stand

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Imphal, October 26 2017: All Manipur Muslims Organization Coordinating Committee (AMMOCOC) has today warned of launching different forms of agitation if the Meitei Pangal community is sidelined from granting ST status by the State Government and Centre .

AMMOCOC president SM Jalal Sheikh informed this to media persons during a press meet held today at its head office located at Hatta, Imphal East .

Reminding that a committee named Pangal ST Demand Committee was formed under the aegis of AMMOCOC on April 3, 2013 and a memorandum submitted to the then Chief Minister as well as to the authorities concerned at the Centre demanding inclusion of Meitei Pangal in the ST list of India, Jalal said that the information regarding the initiative had also been flashed in the media .

He lauded the recent initiatives of the State Government in holding talks with the Schedule Tribe Demand Committee (STDCM) regarding the demand of enlisting Meitei/Meetei under ST group and added that his organization and its constituent organizations as well as all the Meitei Pangal community consider the step/initiative as a very significant step .

However, if Meitei Pangal community is sidelined from the consideration of ST status and if the State Government carries forward with an approach meant only for Meitei/Meetei while trying to find a solution for the demand of granting ST status to any community which are yet to be enrolled as ST, AMMOCOC will not remain as a mute spectator and will take on every possible step against the State Government, Jalal threatened .

He also said that Meitei Pangals deserve to be accorded ST status as they fulfil all the criteria to be included in the ST category under Article 342 of the Indian Constitution .

He highlighted that Meitei Pangals are economically, socially, politically and educationally backward besides being geographically isolated.

They also have unique cultures and identity and speak Manipuri language and are the offspring of Meitei Ningol and have the nature of a community .

Observing that the State Government needs to invite and consult all stakeholders, CSOs and intellectuals of all ethnic communities residing in the State while trying to address the issue of ST demand in the State, he conveyed that his organization and its constituent organizations as well as the Meitei Pangal community also wish/aspire to pursue ST demand in this manner.

He also urged the State Government to find an inclusive and long lasting solution for all the ethnic communities residing in the State .

Lamenting that often racism had defined the ideology/concept of Manipuri Nationalism, Jalal further appealed the Meitei community as a major community in the State to take the main role in trying to make the meaning of Manipuri Nationalism exists as a united Manipur.

He also asked Meitei community to embrace all minor communities in the State in building a collective Manipur and maintain a shared destiny and common future for all ethnic communities in the State while asking all the CSOs of different communities in the State not to compromise on the collective identity of Manipur.

Source: The Sangai Express

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