Imphal, October 28 2021: The World Meetei Council (WMC) has urged the State Government to send the recommendation for granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to Meeteis before the enforcement of model code of conduct for the 12th State Assembly election.
Addressing a press conference at Manipur Press Club today, WMC chairman Heigrujam Nabashyam stated that the State Government not sending the recommendation in view of the objection being raised by certain people on the ST demand for Meetei/Meitei is truly unfortunate.
Stating that the Meetei/Meitei might lose its own land in the near future if its status remains the same, he said that the WMC is prepared to launch stern agitation if its demand is not entertained.
There might not be another opportunity for the Meetei community to demand the same and as such WMC will always stick to its demand, he said.
Seeking the support of student organisations and CSOs in the movement, Nabashyam urged all not to give any credence to the rumour being spread on the issue by those ‘who don’t even know the contemporary socio political situation of the Meeteis’ .
Nabashyam also expressed concern over the rapid shrinkage of Meetei commuity and stated that granting ST status is the only means to save the ethnic community and its political rights.
Continuing that the British identified Meeteis as forest tribe while those in the hills as hill tribes, he claimed ‘our ancestors, however, made a mistake by considering Meeteis as part of Aryan race and refused to be identified as indigenous people of Manipur.
This is an error the Meeteis non indigenous in their own Stat, he said and rued that the Meeteis can live only in the valley which constitute a meagre 9 percent of the total area of Manipur.
This is a serious blunder that needs to be corrected, he added.
Extending gratitude to the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM) for their sstand on the status of the Meeteis, Nabashyam contended that the inaction on the part of the State Government, however, is a gross injustice committed against the said communty.
“Unchecked influx of illegal immigrants in the State has made it all the more important and immediate to enlist the Meeteis in the ST list of the Indian Constitution as the ethnic community could be decimated in the next few decades,” he asserted.
Claiming that the political rights of the Meeteis will be lost once the delimitation exercise is carried out as the population of the ethnic community has shrunk over the years, the WAC chairman urged the Government to do the needful at the earliest.