Various civil society organisations in Manipur on Sunday demanded that the required documents for inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei community in the Scheduled Tribe list be submitted to the Central government by December, 2022.
Speaking to the media in press conference at Manipur Press Club, Majorkhul Imphal West on Sunday, World Meitei Council chairman Heikrujam Nabashyam said that the majority of Meitei or Meetei population want to be enlisted as a Scheduled Tribe, considering various issues and challenges facing the community.
He raised concern that some Meitei intellectual groups keep objecting to their demand. The state government should not work in the interest of this fewer group and should rather take steps in the interests of the larger section, he contended.
He continued that fulfilling the “decades old ST demand” would become a tougher challenge if the necessary recommendations such as ethnographic and socio-economic caste census are not sent by this coming December.
He further said that the parliamentary election falls in the year 2024 and all preparations for the election are likely to begin from the last month of next year. After this month, the authorities would not bother in discussing any kind of issues until the election is over, he said. Apart from this, the delimitation process of Manipur would begin from 2025, he added.
Observing these factors, hardly around 10 months are left to consider the recognition of Meitei or Meetei in ST list, he maintained.
He also said that for the inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the ST list, the submitted ethnographic and socio-economic caste census report needs to undergo examination twice.
He further said that the first examination is to be done by the Registrar General of India and National Commission for Scheduled Tribe. After this, the matter would be discussed at a political platform, he mentioned. This examination would take at least eight-nine months, he added.
He informed that socio-economic caste census and ethnographic reports endorsed by the Manipur University are already at the chief minister's table. He further reiterated that the state government should submit the report by December this year.
The conference was attended by the representatives of Kangleipak Kanba Lup and Salaicha Kanba Lup.