Rally to Demand Inclusion of Meitei in ST List in Manipur
| Brown Nongmaithem, Imphal, Manipur - 03 Mar 2019

ST on War in Manipur

Rally to Demand Inclusion of Meitei in ST List in Manipur

By Brown Nongmaithem 
Imphal, March 3, 2019: Massive mass protest rally was organized today by Schedule Tribe Demand Committee Manipur for
inclusion of Meetei/Meitei on the Scheduled Tribe list in Manipur. It was participated by thousands of people from all walks of life where it halted for a public meeting at Hapta Kangjeibung. 

Speaking exclusively to Indian Observer Post, Yambem Laba, Advisor of the STDCM said that we will go all out to ensure the defeat of both the Congress who sat on the file for five long years and the BJP who is currently hesitating to endorse the recommendation of the Meities of Manipur in the ST list of the country in the ensuing elections to the Lok Sabha.

He also said that this election will serve as a Referendum for the movement. He also wondered if the Government is waiting for their Palms to be greased to ensure the survival of the Meitei people of Manipur. He also said that the war drums have been sounded and henceforth there will be no request to the Government it will be snatched.

As a mark of protest, all business transaction and establishment in the Imphal city wore a deserted look. Moreover, there were hardly any public transports moving around except for some private vehicles. The Ima Keithels (mothers’ market) and surrounding areas were all closed as well. 

Speaking in the public meeting General Secretary of Schedule Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM) K. Bhogendrajit said that they have been opposing democratically for the last 7 years to include the Meetei/Meitei on the ST list leading to constitutional safeguard for the submerging Meetei/Meitei.

He further said that both the previous governments as well as the present government agreed with the idea that the Meetei/ Meitei community should be included in the Scheduled Tribe list but none of them have even sent the recommendation to the central government. He further said that if there isn’t any constitutional safeguard for the Meetei/Meitei than the fate of Jiribam will take place similarly in Imphal and other valley areas too where a non-indigenous contest in the election and even get elected.

He also said that Meetei is the only indigenous tribe in the entire North East who isn’t included in the ST list. If the Meetei was included in the ST list than the land and both its culture and language can get protected, he added. He further warned that if the recommendation is not sent before the code of conduct of the upcoming election than a series of intense agitation will be organised along with the people. 

During the public meeting, Manipur’s Titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba said that the Meeteis/Meitieis have been struggling for their survival. And the easiest way to survive for the time being is through the inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe list as the central government has already given its signal for the Meetei/ Meitei to be included in the Scheduled Tribe list.

He added that all the other movements like Manipur Peoples Bill, Inner Line Permit and protection against CAB needs an assent or request from the government but the ST demand movement which the central government had already signaled for inclusion.

He appealed the state government to send the recommendation to the central government and also requested other communities who hindered their demand as it is their only way to get constitutional safeguard which will help in the survival of the immerging Meeteis. 

Yambem Laba, senior journalist of The Statesman, who was also a former member of Manipur Human Rights Commission also spoke on the meeting stating that if the entreaty to send approval does not bother the government than they will seize it from their hands.

Labe added that as a matter of fact if the government doesn’t send approvals to include Meetei/ Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe list before the code of conduct of the upcoming Lok Sabha election than they will boycott the political parties who are against their demand. He also cautioned that the movement is one which can haul up the government. 

He further questioned the previous Congress-led government for not considering the approval and that they need to answer and face the consequences. He said that if the present government thinks for the future of the people that they should call an emergency cabinet meeting and let the Meetei/Meitei be included in the scheduled tribe.

 Photos - By Brown Nongmaithem 

Yambem Laba, Advisor of the STDCM addressing the Public And the others mass protest rally in Imphal

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