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Manipur org. wants Meitei included in ST list

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By Our Correspondent Updated: Jan 27, 2018 10:20 pm
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Our Correspondent
Imphal, Jan. 27 (EMN): A coordinating body of a Manipur group called the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (STDC) has started consultations with public leaders in an effort to garner support for the inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list.
A delegation of the STDC’s coordinating group led by Convenor Mutum Churamani and Publicity Chairman Thokchom Gopimohon met with P Dhanakumar, former chairman of the Board of Secondary Education of Manipur (BSEM) on Jan. 23. It sought his support for the campaign which started in 2012.
The former chairman told the media that the ‘living space of the Meitei is vanishing with every community being accommodated in the plain areas which geographically comprises just 10 percent of the state’s area.’ On the other hand , although the Meitei are a major community, they cannot settle in the hills as it is said to be protected from intrusion of non-Scheduled Tribes.
Unless the existing small portion of land in the plain area is protected, there are chances of the Meitei being displaced from their own land, Dhanakumar said. But if it was a scheduled area, it could be protected. Therefore, he said, inclusion of the Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe list is required in the present context.
The former IPS officer explained that treating the ‘unequal as equal’ was injustice according to a Supreme Court’s ruling in 1992 which says ‘unequal should be unequal; it should not be made equal.’
The Meitei being classified in the general category ‘violates’ article-14 of the Indian Constitution, he claimed.
During the first consultations held recently, the coordinating body of the STDC met with veteran parliamentarian and BJP leader Okram Joy during which the former opposition firebrand Joy expressed his support to the campaign for inclusion of the Meitei in the ST list.
Joy had suggested that the government constitute a committee to look into the matter so that the Meitei would get constitutional protection.
The functionaries of the coordinating body, who plan to continue their campaign till March, said that the ongoing campaign will bring a ‘cohesive and harmonious society’ in Manipur based on ‘ethnic social equality.’
The central government had previously sought the state government’s recommendation on the demand for inclusion of the Meitei community in the ST list. The committee making the demand is planning to hold talks with state’s government soon.

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By Our Correspondent Updated: Jan 27, 2018 10:20:37 pm