Imphal: The Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) has contended that other communities do not have the right to oppose the demand for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei community in the ST list in accordance with the Constitution of India.
We have prepared to launch a series of agitations if the State Government fails to submit the socio-economic survey and ethnographic report of Meetei/Meitei community as sought the Centre within the stipulated time fixed by the High Court of Manipur, STDCM President Dhiraj Yumnam said while talking to reporters at Manipur Press Club here on Friday.
Notably, the High Court of Manipur on April 19 directed the State Government to send necessary recommendations and other relevant documents for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the ST list within four weeks to the Union Government.
Dhiraj Yumnam appealed to the leaders, intellectuals, CSOs and others both in the hills and valley to take up necessary measures to prevent any kind of unwanted incident or clash among the people living in the hills and the valley instead of speaking and issuing statements which could ignite communal flare up amongst the different communities of the State.
He said that the STDCM warmly welcomes the ruling of the High Court of Manipur that directed the State Government to send the requisite recommendations within four weeks to the Centre.
During the four-week time, the committee has resolved to not launch any kind of agitation. However, if the State Government fails to do the needful the committee will launch a series of agitations in pursuit of the demand, he made it clear.
He also conveyed that looking at the little progress of the demand, STDCM will be organising a consultative meeting very soon to decide various steps to be taken up in the future. He appealed to the State Government to immediately initiate necessary steps to translate the long demand into action as per the ruling of the High Court of Manipur and in the larger interest of the people of the State.
The STDCM President said that a series of agitations have been launched in the past demanding inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the ST list under Article 342 (2) of the Constitution of India to safeguard the indigenous identity of the community.
In response to the representation sent by the STDCM on May 5, 2013, the Central Government on May 29, 2013 directed the State Government to send necessary recommendations including other latest reports of the community such as ethnography and socio-economic survey. Unfortunately, the State Government is yet to do so. Pressing the demand, STDCM along with local clubs, Meira Paibi and voluntary organisations starting from August 22, 2022 staged protest demonstrations in different places and stormed the quarters/ residences of Ministers and MLAs of the valley by submitting a memorandum each to them. An ultimatum was also submitted to the State Government to send the required recommendations to the Centre, he reminded.
He reiterated that as there is no positive response from the side of the State Government despite mounting pressure and launching various mode of agitation, some members of Meetei Tribe Union (MTU) filed a writ petition to the High Court of Manipur, to which the court on April 19 directed the State Government to send the requisite recommendations to the Centre to include Meetei/Meitei in the ST list.
The STDCM strongly believes that the State Government will take up necessary steps in honour of the order passed by the High Court of Manipur, Dhiraj added.