Imphal, July27: The Indian government, as a reply to a memorandum submitted by the ST demand Committee asked the recommendation of the state government along with necessary supporting documents to discuss the possibility of including Meitei/Meetei in the list of Scheduled Tribes of India on 29 May 2013, but the same have been ignored by the state government so far. The disclosure was made in a Press hand-out of the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur which has been spearheading the movement to include Meitei/Meetei in the list of scheduled Tribes of India to ensure the security and safety of the interests, cultures, customs and traditions of the indigenous people of the state. Reiterating the need for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the list of Scheduled Tribes of India as a constitutional assurance for safeguarding the indigenous people of the state, the release also stressed on the central government’s criteria for enlisting a community in the scheduled Tribes list which the Meitei/Meetei community fulfills. A charter of demands regarding the same has also been submitted to the Chief Minister for discussion and deliberation in the upcoming Assembly session in July. The release further states that a 12-hour relay hunger strike by 100 volunteers will be organized on 7 August which will be followed by a Mass Rally by the indigenous people on 18 September. These democratic forms of protests and agitations will exclude students upto class VII for the time being, while the much criticized forms of protests like bandhs and blockades will not be resorted to as far as possible by the Committee which is adopting a new theme: ‘Movement with a difference’, the release added. It also warns everyone concern of misinterpreting the public-friendly approach to protests as a sign of weakness or cowardice, and urged every right-thinking and able indigenous people in the state to come forward and support the steps being taken up by the Committee.
‘State ignored centre’s call for recommendation on ST status of Meitei/Meetei’