Imphal, Nov 27:
Kangleipak Kanba Lup , Manipur, a civil body of the state has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Manipur urging him to convince the Union Home Minister who is visiting the state shortly for recommending the inclusion of Meiteis as Scheduled Tribe.
Union Home Amit Shah Minister is arriving shortly in Imphal with a view towards gauging the pulse of the people and the Government of Manipur before entering into a final settlement between the Govt. of India and the NSCN(I-M) and the NNPG. The signing of the all inclusive Naga accord whose ramifications besides the Indian State of Nagaland will also be felt in the adjoining states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur.
The memorandum to the chief minister stated that the organisation is positive that the territorial boundary of Manipur will remain unchanged keeping in mind that the smoldering smoke of the 18thJune 2001 are still to be cleared from the minds of the Manipuri people.
“However we are sure that the Nagas of Manipur as well as the Kukis will be benefiting in terms of getting autonomous administrative setups under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution of India besides generous sums of money in form of grants”, the memorandum signed by Yambem Laba , Chief Advisor of the KKL stated.
The KKL appealed the Chief Minister to keep the interests of your people, the Meiteis before saying a final yes to any solution. It also urged to stress upon the need of the Government of India to agree to place the Meitei people as a Scheduled Tribe of India under the 5th Schedule of the Constitution of India .Classifying the Meitei tribe as a Scheduled Tribe of India will be the panacea to the problems and dilemmas including unemployment and preservation of the indigenous ethnic identity which the Meitei people of Manipur has been facing since Manipur’s merger with the Union of India in 1949.
The organisation also pointed out that the Asom Tais of Assam a race that had ruled Assam for 600 years and was powerful enough to defeat the Mughal Forces of Emperor Aurangazeb in the battle of Saraighat in 1671 is being considered today for being declared as a schedule tribe. This move also has the backing of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) under Arabinda Rajkhowa currently having talks with the Government of India as well the BJP Government of Assam under Sarbananda Sonowal.
The memorandum also stated that classifying the Meiteis of Manipur as a scheduled tribe of India will ensure the protection of the scarce land which they are now confined to today, which is a mere 10 per cent of the total geographical area of the State measuring less than 2000 square kilometers of the State. The remaining 90 per cent of the State has been protected since 1950 being classified as reserved tribal area. Also it needs to be pointed out here that since the Inner Line Permit system under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 a move agreed to by the Centre to protect the identity of primarily the Meitei people. The ILP exists also in the former Lushai Hills now Mizoram, Naga Hills now Nagaland and North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA) now Arunachal Pradesh and these areas have been covered by the ILP primarily with a view to protect the interests of the scheduled tribes settled there and likewise the Meiteis now under the ILP umbrella to be declared as a Scheduled Tribe.