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ST demand: Is this a consensus decision for all Meitei Meetei

The demand for scheduled Tribe status for Meetei/Meitei people might have been considered as legitimate for those supporting it. But for many the demand is a threat to the 2000 plus history of the erstwhile Asiatic Kingdom. It is not about being superior or not it is about protecting the status of the erstwhile nation. Misinterpreting the idea of opposing the demand by some self proclaimed intellectuals or in other words intellectual of the Indian system is a hurdle to the stand of the people. Every person from rich to poor, illiterate to literate knows the benefit provided to the Scheduled Tribe community and including in the list of Schedule Tribe will also give the similar facilities. People across the state particularly among the Meitei/Meetei people know that the Meitei / Meetei Community are now at a very critical stage. The apprehension of the land being occupied by the outsiders, the divide among the various ethnic community of the state and so on, are some of the worrisome issues. Will the demand for the ST for Meitei or Meetei community help in protecting the erstwhile nation, which has been a home of multiple ethnic community. Imphal Times journalist , Sh Ajit Singh, at one of his write up published yesterday in this newspaper also question the same by presenting a complete picture of the threat perception to the erstwhile Asiatic kingdom due to the issue of the NSCN-IM. In his write up it was also question whether the demand for the ST for Meetei/Meitei is a consensus demand for all the Meitei/Meetei community.
Well, It is a known fact that, before the merger of the erstwhile kingdom Manipur, to the Indian Union in 15 October, 1949, after the signing of the controversial merger agreement with the dominant of India in September 21, 1949, Manipur was then a sovereign nation having its own constitution. It is also a fact that meitei are the majority community and since the time there were many small communities whose status was not that good as compare with the then ruling community. These whole of the smaller ethnic communities are really backward that the state has to give some kind of status to improve their situation to compete with the major community.
But after Manipur was merged to the dominion of India (or say annexation) the so call majority meitei become a mere minority group when compare with those of the people of the mainland Indian community. Being an erstwhile kingdom with organised set up all the administration the meiteis are somewhat superior. But the influx of the illegal or legal migrants from the mainland has given a threat to this people.
When the valley region which is a home of all the Manipuri communities has been dominated by these so called illegal or legal migrants, there is definitely a threat to the cultural, social and economic condition of the state as a whole. It is considered that if the identity of meitei is protected all the other Manipuri communities like those under the Kuki, Naga, Zou, Paite, Hmar, Meitei Pangal can be protected.
Surprisingly the issue which should be supported by whole community has been somehow distorted with the idea of converting the whole meitei into ST status. This idea may be easy process but, the idea will definitely sabotage the healthy relationship between the Meetei and other ST communities. It is to be reminded only few among this STs have managed to come up but 95 percent of the STs need to be supported. Let the ST issue be never brought up at this crucial hour or people need to think why the matter which may incite anger between the ST people and Meetei community should be raise.

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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