Friday, January 27, 2023

World Meetei Council slams objection raised on ST status demand for Meetei


The World Meetei Council (WMC) , in a in a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleged that the All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) has been indulging in ‘extremely provocative activities’ and has also demanded removal of “immigrant” Chin-Kuki peoples from the list of ST in Manipur.
The WMC alleged that the union which claims to represent different native indigenous people of Manipur is spreading lies in the national capital by meeting union ministers to misrepresent and falsify the demand of the Meetei people to be included in the list of scheduled tribes of the Indian Constitution.
The demand is to save Meetei themselves from total annihilation, the memorandum signed by its chairman Heigrujam Nabashyam stated. Justifying the ST status demand for the Meeteis, WMC stated that Meeteis are the aboriginal people of Manipur along with the Nagas.
They are formed by seven clans or seven big families which we, Meetei, call Salai Taret. However as the Meetei converted to Hinduism in the 18th century, they were taken as Aryans. That was the only reason why Meetei were taken as general and not as a Scheduled Tribe, it stated.
“And our elders too were proud to be identified as Aryans and therefore they never pointed out that Meetei were aboriginal people like the Naga,” it observed.
It is extremely unfortunate that the Meetei are not allowed by the Indian Constitution to live as rightful citizens in Manipur.
They can live only in 9% of the area of Manipur, which is the valley area situated in the middle. “This is great injustice meted out to the Meetei people. Meetei are not included in the list of Scheduled Tribes and the 91% land area of Manipur is protected for the communities who are enlisted in the ST list,” the WMC observed.
The Meetei people are demanding their rightful place in the ST list as they fulfill all the criteria prescribed by the Lokur Committee, WMC stated adding that a section of the communities who are wrongly enlisted as ST namely the Chin-Kuki groups of people in the name of ATSUM vehemently objected to the demand of the Meetei.
The fact is these Chin-Kuki groups of people did migrate from Burma (Myanmar) and they were permitted by the Manipur government to settle under the refugee settlement policy on humanitarian consideration.
However when the Chin-Kuki groups of people settled down in Manipur, they became trouble creators even working to carve out an independent homeland which they call as Zalengam, WMC alleged in the memorandum.
Such unrestrained communal activities of these Chin-Kuki people are bound to cause serious unwanted situations in Manipur and northeast as well, it added.
WMC said that the law of the land is clear and that migrants and their children cannot in any case become Scheduled Tribes in India and particularly in Manipur.
WMC said STs in India are the aboriginal inhabitants of the land who are generally called as indigenous people.
WMC pointed out that the Chin-Kuki groups of people are still living in their original homeland – the Chin state in Burma. And it may also be pointed out that they also claim to be Jewish people and the Israeli government has accepted them and accordingly some of them have migrated to Israel and settled there.
These are the facts based on records which are available in the government records of Manipur and the Centre as well, WMC underscored.
In the light of these facts on the Chin-Kuki groups of people who are wrongly enlisted in the list of STs of Manipur, WMC said it has requested the Prime Minister to look into the matter so that they are removed from the list of Scheduled Tribes and only the genuine indigenous people are enlisted.
The copy of the memorandum were also furnished to the Union minister of tribal affairs, Union minister of law, chief minister of Manipur and requested them to initiate necessary action.

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