The Schedule Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM), while strongly condemning the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) for objecting their ongoing demand on inclusion of Meitei or Meetei in scheduled tribe list (ST), has urged ATSUM to withdraw their stand as their demand would not affect any particular community.
As a part of their series of agitations launched demanding to enlist Meitei or Meetei in ST list, STDCM had submitted a memorandum to Health & IPR Minister Dr Sapam Ranjan at his residence, Konthoujam on Sunday.
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Addressing media at the sidelines of the agitation, convenor of STDCM Laishram Romesh said that objecting their ‘legitimate demand’ on inclusion of Meitei or Meetei by ATSUM is unfortunate. From early part of their agitation, ATSUM has been opposing the demand while STDCM has been approaching the union to clear their misconception of ineligibilities of Meetei or Meitei in ST list, he added.
“ATSUM objecting to STDCM demand on the ground that Meitei or Meetei are in higher class is not acceptable at all. The Imphal valley, having a size of just around 1,843 square kilometers, doesn’t have any constitutional rights to protect the land. On the other hand, there is a consistent influx of migrants. What would be the condition of the valley once Asian Highway and railway projects are fully functional,” he questioned while stating that allowing or disallowing Meitei or Meetei in ST list should be decided by the Registrar General of India and Tribal Affairs Ministry.
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He continued and urged ATSUM to withdraw their stand considering the need for constitutional protection by Meitei or Meetei to prevent the ethnic community from extinction.
Also stating the stand of Protection and Preservation Committee (PPCM), Romesh recalled that PPCM, in the year 2017, had submitted memorandum to state government seeking not to send recommendation for inclusion of Meitei or Meetei in ST list and call on them to withdraw their stand considering the essence of bringing unity and integrity in the state.
While assuring to look into the memorandum, minister Ranjan said that demand made by STDCM is genuine. The matter would be discussed with his fellow cabinet members, MLAs and chief minister and would extend possible effort to accomplish their demand, he said.