ATRPFM questions STDCM demand for ST status

IMPHAL, 11th Sep: All Tribal Rights Protection Forum Manipur (ATRPFM) has enquired the logic behind STDCM’s demand for ST status.
In a statement, the forum enquired if STDCM wanted to go back to the status of 128 years ago with same educational and economic condition of 1891. It stated that it is up to the wisdom of the Parliament to decide on the matter but as per opinion of the forum, Meitei is a forward caste that do not need ST status.
“Although constitution does not defined Scheduled Tribe, there is a clear criterion for specification as a Scheduled Tribe such as indications of primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness of contact with the community at large, and backwardness. The Meitei community does not fulfil the criterion and thus does not qualify for specification as ST,” it stated while asking the ground for demanding ST status. Economically, socially and ethnically, Meitei is the most advanced community in the entire North East region.
In public employment of all departments, representation of Meiteis are already high. As per rules, reservation for reserved categories shall be in proportion with their respective population. ST’s population in Manipur as per Census 2011 is 34 per cent, however, representation of STs in public employment is nowhere near 31 per cent. Representation of STs in public employment for all grades of posts taken together was only 23 per cent and has not improved till date, it contended.
In the legislature, there are 40 Meitei MLAs, and both judiciary and executive are dominated by Meiteis. For protection of indigenous people, there is already ILP or Manipur Peoples’ Bill. For protection of land, there is already land protection law known as the Manipur Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2014. For reservation purpose, there is already 10 per cent reservation quota for the weaker upper caste and as such, there is no reasonable purpose for the ST status demand, the forum contended.
It then demanded the state government not to recommend and justify the “illegitimate demand” and the Registrar General of India (RGI) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) not to give concurrence and consider the case.

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