STDCM justifies demand for Meetei/Meitei in ST list
IMPHAL, 14th Sep: Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM) general secretary K Bhogendrajit has reiterated that the ongoing effort to include Meetei/Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list of the Indian Constitution is to protect and safeguard the Meetei/Meitei community.
Addressing a press meet held at STDCM office here Saturday, Bhogendrajit said that although the idea to include Meetei/Meitei in the ST list was started by a few people, it has now become an issue supported by the masses. The Committee is merely acting out the wishes of the people, he stated.
Inclusion in the ST list is a right given by the Indian constitution to tribes/tribal communities, a right for which the community must stand for. However, the decision to include Meetei/Meitei in the ST list is to be decided by the authority concerned of the Indian government as per the rules and criteria laid down, he pointed out.
Stating that the Committee would never compromise on anything related to the state’s territorial integrity or the welfare of Meetei/Meitei community, Bhogendrajit said that STDCM has never sold its soul over money or power unlike some committees have done.
He continued that it is unfortunate that some people are trying to portray the ST demand as a measure against the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) through electronic and print media. He then condemned such acts and appealed to all concerned not to repeat such acts in future. Asserting that STDCM had never tried to downplay sensitive issues of the state such as territorial integrity, ILP, CAB during its prolonged demand, the secretary said that the Committee had to withdraw its protests to give more priority to the said issues. He further clarified that the allegations that the Meetei/Meitei community would steal the benefits of other communities in the ST list are completely false and baseless. The communities in the list would receive their quota just as they have received before, he contended.
Bhogendrajit then appealed to all civil society organisations, clubs, Meira Paibi, student bodies and private individuals to continue extending their support towards ensuring fulfilment of the demand.