Constitutional protection need of the hour : STDCM
Imphal, September 24 2017: The movement for the inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe list of India has intensified with today’s public convention setting a deadline to the State Government of Manipur to submit its (State Government) recommendation to the Central Government.
As per the resolution adopted during the public convention, STDCM said that the State Government should submit its recommendation to the Centre to include Meiteis/Meeteis in the ST list by October 20 .
If the deadline is not adhered to by the State Government, then STDCM will be constrained to launch a series of intense agitation, added another resolution .
The ‘Public Convention’ organized by Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur (STDCM) was held at Ibobyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen at Palace Compound in Imphal where about 35 public leaders and activists spoke on the occasion with each one stressing on the need for the inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe list of India .
“Since the question of tribes in India is closely linked with administrative and political considerations, Meiteis’ demand is to give due cognisance to its indigenous tribal ethnic identity and include it in the ST list now which was not included in the said list in 1950 so as to provide Constitutional recognition and safeguard to Meiteis’ identity as indigenous people of Manipur,” said the STDCM .
Another reason given by STDCM for its demand to include Meitei/Meetei in the ST list of India is to “provide Constitutional safeguard to the whole State of Manipur under the fifth schedule which is already enforced in the hill areas of Manipur”.
The STDCM further said that inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the ST list is to “remove the Constitutional divide between Meiteis and hill people of Manipur and to restore a cohesive and harmonious society in Manipur based on ethnic social equality and respect for all indigenous ethnic communities as a composite ST dominant State” .
According to STDCM, it had submitted a memorandum each to the then Governor of Manipur on November 30, 2012 and to the then Chief Minister on December 18, 2012 .
In response to a memorandum of the STDCM, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India vide letter dated May 29, 2013 informed the Government of Manipur to forward specific recommendations along with the ethnographic reports and socio economic survey reports of Meitei/Meitei for consideration for inclusion in the ST list, according to STDCM .
The issue was brought up in the budget session of Manipur Assembly on June 29, 2015, and the then Chief Minister O Ibobi assured to consult experts and historians to take up necessary action if found reasonable.
But there never was any tangible action, STDCM rued .
Again, this year in the last budget session of Manipur Legislative Assembly on August 2, 2017, Chief Minister N Biren had assured that the matter would be referred to the Manipur State Commission for Scheduled Tribes for examination .
Meanwhile, STDCM leaders lamented that the Committee has been carrying out the movement for the last four years to include Meitei/Meetei in the Schedule Tribe list but the authorities concerned are ignoring the movement.
Source: The Sangai Express / NNN