Imphal, May 16: The battle line between groups of people supporting the demand for Scheduled tribe Status for Meitei and Meetei and those opposing the demand is becoming clearer as both the supporters and opposers now take public platform and started justifying their stance.
When group of people who are against the demand are conducting series of peoples’ convention at different places, President of the Ethno Heritage Council (HERICOUN) Manipur Longjam Ratankumar today said that those standing against the demand for ST status for the Meitei and Meetei still fails to convince the reason on why the demand should be opposed.
Speaking during the 14th Foundation Day of HERICOUN held today at GM Hall Imphal, Ratankumar said that the various problem being faced by the Meitei/ Meetei people in survival will find its solution only after the conversion of the Meitei / Meetei to Scheduled Tribe.
“Unless we convert into ST there is means to safeguard the Meitei Meetei people”, said the President of HERICOUN.
Criticizing those standing against the demand for ST status, Ratankumar said that opposing to the demand is unfortunate.
“Why should those who oppose the demand campaign instead of coming to the office and discussed over the issue”, Ratankumar asked.
He said that the ST demand committee had been there since 2011 and their office too is widely open for any discussion. Instead of going to the newspaper or public platform, the matter should have been well discussed.
The demand for ST is nothing but to bring harmony in the community.
Wangkhem Sharatcandra , President of the Assam Meitei Apunba Lup elaborated the condition of the indigenous Manipuri people in Jiribam. While delivering his speech as the Chief Guest of the Foundation day of HERICOUN, Sharatchandra calls on all those who oppose the ST demand and those supporting the demand to have an open debate.
“Let us have a debate, and let the people decide whether we need status like ST or not”, Sharatkemar said.
Giving factual data of the population figure of Jiribam Sub Division as according to the census record, Sharatchandra said that in 1951 census report the population was only 7767 in Jiribam. Among this Meitei population is the highest with a total of 2273 and Bangali reaching 1429.
In 2011 census report the population figure reached 44,836. Among this Meitei / Meetei and other indigenous tribal community population s only 29,222. When the population of Bangali and other outsiders is over 15,616.
The movement of ILPS got strong opposition from outsiders settling in Jiribam, Sharatchandra said. Even the media based at Silchar report propaganda opposing the ILP movement.
The 14th Foundation day of HERICOUN was also attended by R.T. Akhel Aimol, President of the Aimol tribe Union as the Guest of Honour