Posers raised over ST status demand

IMPHAL, 12th Sep: Amidst the intensified agitation for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in ST list of Indian Constitution, People’s Action for National Democratic Movement (PANDM) has said that it would not be a right step to convert entire people of Manipur to ST category merely for getting some quota in education, employment, scholarship and some other benefits.
What additional benefit Meetei/Meitei would get when entire people of both hills and valley of Manipur become ST, PANDM asked in a statement issued by its IPR secretary Roshnikanta. The secretary contended that outsiders who belong to general category would grab all the benefits. Competitive spirits of Meetei/Meitei students who are presently able to compete at national and international levels would fall when the community is included in the ST category, it said.
Contradicting the provision of land protection under ST status, the PANDM asked what the Meetei/Meitei community would benefit when they would not be able to own resources extracted from their own land protected by the Constitution.
While reiterating that ST status alone would not be able to defend the ever increasing influx of outsiders who have threatened even the very existence of indigenes of Manipur, PANDM said that outsiders have taken hold of business activities in ST inhabited hills areas of the state and there is nobody to check them. All these need to be discussed and looked into seriously and it is unlikely that government would simply forward recommendation for ST status when an organisation formed by few people claiming to represent the entire community make hue and cry, PANDM said and stressed the need for a collective discussion on the issue.
Taking serious note of the speculation that settlement to Government of India-NSCN (IM) peace talk under Framework Agreement would be brought with conferring of ST status to Meetei/Meitei, PANDM said that implementation of Naga integration demand made by some people claiming to be Nagas in Manipur cannot compare with ST status demand of few people.
While informing that the Consultative Group representing Manipur government in the peace talk have indicated that granting ST status to Meetei/Meitei would bring final settlement to Framework Agreement, PANDM urged the people to remain alert and called for a collective discussion.

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