IMPHAL, Dec 4 : Women vendors of different keithels of the State are set to stage a one hour demonstration on December 6 from 11 am to 12 noon in front of their respective keithels demanding the inclusion of Meeteis/ Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe list of the Indian Constituency. This was stated by Mutum Churamani convener of the Coordinating Body of Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (CBSTDCM) during a press conference held at Manipur Press club today.
Addressing reporters, Churamani said that the movement to include Meiteis/Meeteis in the Scheduled Tribe list of the Constitution of India dates back to 1967 when the then intellectuals and elders of society raised the ST banner for Meiteis/ Meeteis. The movement however faded with the passage of time.
However this movement was revived in 2012 under the leadership of Prof Mohendro and various awareness campaigns were launched in different parts of the State, recalled Churamani.
Following the revival of the movement, a co-ordinating body to coordinate the movement of the people to demand that the Meeteis/Meiteis be included in the Scheduled Tribe list was formed in 2016, said Churamani and added that the proposed December 6 demonstration is a follow up action of the movement.
Citing some important events in the movement, Churamani recalled that more than six thousand people attended the people’s convention held at Iboyaima Shuman Leela Shanglen from May 22 this year to further the demand that the Meeteis/Meiteis be included in the ST list of the Indian Constituency.
The decision arrived at after the people’s convention was then submitted to Chief Minister O Ibobi and the State Government as a memorandum, he added.
Further a 25 days long relay hunger strike was held from August 7 to August 31 this year to give more teeth to the demand.
One hundred people took part each day during the relay hunger strike, recalled Churamani.
A mass rally participated by more than 2.5 people was also staged on September 18 this year. The rally started from THAU ground and culminated at Hapta Kangjeibung.
Another memorandum was submitted to the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and others after the rally, said Churamani.
Earlier in 2013, the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee had sent a communication to the Ministry of Home Affairs that the Meeteis/Meiteis be included in the ST list of the Indian Constitution and it had sent a letter to the State Government to send the latest socio-economic report and ethnography report of the Meeteis/Meiteis, informed Churamani.
It was in line with this communication from the Centre that the CBSTDCM had asked the State Government to send the said report to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs before the end of October this year.
However the State Government failed to do the needful and it was to address this that the CBSTDCM had asked for an appointment with the Chief Minister, said Churamani.
It was only on November 28 that the Chief Minister gave an audience to a 7 member team of the CBSTDCM, said Churamani and added that during the meeting they submitted their concept, documents and data on why the Meeteis/Meiteis need to be included in the ST list of the Constitution of India.
The Chief Minister was also asked to take up the matter at the Cabinet meeting and during the five days CLP meeting held from November 28, but this did not receive any positive response, added Churamani.
It is unfortunate that the issue has still not featured in the Cabinet meeting, said Churamani but added that this will not dampen their movement.
He also said that the Imas of Khwairamband keithel have extended their support voluntarily and they will stage a one hour demonstration in front of their keithels in the valley area from 11 am to 12 noon on December 6. Slogans will also be raised during the demonstration.
Churamani appealed to the Imas to give free passage to traditional rituals, students and essential services during the one hour demonstration and sought the support of all local clubs, CSOs and meira paibis.
Source: The Sangai Express