The meeting was jointly organised by the Coordinating Body of Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (CBSTDCM) and the Nepra Menjor Pukhri Mapal Youth Development Association.
Local senior citizens Heikrujam Jugol, Wangkhem Irabot and Langpoklakpam Birdhaja attended the meeting as presidium members.
Speaking at the gathering, Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee general secretary Col (retd) Laishram Lokendro said that the committee has been asking the Government to enlist Meitei/Meetei in the ST category since around four years back.
Now many civil organisations and a large section of the people have pledged their support to the demand.
The valley area constitutes just 10 percent of the total geographical area of Manipur. In the remaining 90 per cent hill areas, there is a Constitutional provision which prohibits settlement of Meiteis as well as all outsiders.
But one can never claim that the small valley area belongs to the Meiteis exclusively.
This only implies that the Meeteis/Meiteis have been rendered outsiders in their own land.
The Constitutional safeguard entitled to the hill areas should also be entitled to the valley area so that there is uniformity throughout the State. It is this necessity which has been driving the campaign for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the ST list, Lokendro said.
There is a growing need to erase the Constitutional line of division drawn between hill people and plain people.
Political as well as socio-economic status of Meitei community has been degrading every year. Although Meitei students top the Matric exam every year, there are very few Meitei bureaucrats at the top level. Meiteis have been consoling themselves with the fact that they have a glorious history spanning over 2000 years.
People may argue against the campaign for ST status but no one should do anything to forcibly abort the campaign, said Lokendro adding “Let the people judge the issue”.
Lt Col (retd) RK Rajendra too spoke at the meeting.
A similar meeting was also held at Lilong Chajing under the aegis of the CBSTDCM and Living Art, Lilong Chajing.