Imphal: Meetei Students’ Association, Manipur University (MU) has asked the state government to send a recommendation to the Centre for inclusion of Meetei in the scheduled tribe (ST)” list at the earliest.
The association questioned why the Meeteis demand for ST status has been opposed by certain groups as if they think that the demand in not legitimate.
A release issued by the association on Saturday said the inclusion of Meetei into ST list have to be decided by the government.
The association urged other communities in the state to make sure that they do not wrongly portray the movement of the Meetei for ST status.
For the constitutional safeguards of the Meeteis, Meetei Students Association has been supporting the demands for inclusion of Meetei in the schedule tribe list.
The movement is to protect the language, identity, culture and tradition of the indigenous Meetei community, it added.
The student body claimed that Meetei community has remained as a minority after Manipur merged to Indian Union in 1949 and the present population of the Meetei is not even one percent of the total population of 1.3 billion.
It said inclusion of Meetei in the ST list, given by the Indian Constitution for the smaller communities will be an important factor to protect the Meetei from the influence of mainland India.
The ethnic identity of the Meetei who have been deprived of many opportunities even in their own land will be gone if inclusion of Meetei in the ST list is delayed, it added.
Those who think for the welfare of the Meetei have been supporting the democratic approach for inclusion of Meetei in the ST list, it said.
Any other party should stop acting as the authority and thereby stop criticising the movement without knowing the ground reality. Different communities who live together in the state for ages must learn to respect each other so that peaceful co- existence prevails.
The age old relation between the people from hills and valleys will be badly affected if one community thinks only for the welfare of their own community, the release said.
It is unfortunate that an organisation such as All Tribal Students Union Manipur has always been ready to oppose any move made by the Meetei in different important issues in the state, it added.
With such motives, the Meetei community will also be force to make a stand that their demands must be achieved at any means, it said.
The demand for inclusion of Meetei in ST list is now a question of life and death situation for the Meeteis. As such it will be best for all if the sentiment of the Meetei is not affected, it added.
The motive behind the movement is to save the Meetei community and bringi communal harmony in the state, it said.
The demand should be supported by the farmers, teachers, students, writers and every sections of Meeteis, it added.
Meetei community must first protect itself so that it is in a position to help other communities and in turn earn respect from other communities, it said.
If one fails to save his or her community, the trust to protect the land will also be no longer exist. The state government must take up its responsibility, it added