Imphal: Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur (STDCM) has announced that the sit-in-protest put off in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic since April 19, 2021 will resume as the government’s failure to send the relevant documents and recommendation to the Union Government so far for the inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the ST list is an indication of its height of apathy towards the community.
In a press release, the committee’s Publicity Secretary W.Ananda Meetei said STDCM has been campaigning for the due recognition of indigenous Meiteis as an ST community so as to get constitutional safeguards for protecting their identity.
The committee has long been mounting pressure on both the Centre and State Governments for the inclusion of the community in the ST list for providing it with the same constitutional safeguards like other indigenous communities to preserve its identity, it said.
Meetei/Meitei ought to have been included in the ST list under Article 342 (1) of the Constitution initially in 1950, it said, however, the ill-conceived ideas of some influential people of the day prevented the inclusion and the community continues to be bereft of a ST status under the Indian Constitution to this day. Inclusion in the ST list is a right for all the indigenous communities as per the Constitution of India, it said.
If the community is recognised as ST then the segregation of ST and non-ST among the native people of the State will cease to exist and all will live as one, Anand Meitei said in the press release.
STDCM also stressed that the survival of the Meitei/Meetei community in the future depends on being listed as ST.
As Meitei/Meetei has no constitutional safeguard, they have no way to protect themselves from extinction or get marginalised in their land in the future, which will only hurt the coming generations.
STDCM further warned that if the government continues to remain silent it will launch more intense agitation.