Imphal, Apr 26:
The United Naga Council (UNC) has strongly condemned the recent ruling of the High Court of Manipur regarding the demand for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list by the Meitei community in the state.
On March 27, the High Court of Manipur directed the state government to recommend to the Union government the inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei community in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list and to consider the case within a period of four weeks. The UNC has strongly criticized this decision, stating that it is irrational to include the Meitei/Meetei community in the ST list, as the purpose of this list is to provide protective discrimination for groups that require it, and this community does not meet the criteria for inclusion.
The UNC has argued that the Meitei/Meetei community of Manipur is an advanced community in India and that their language, Manipuri (Meiteilon), is listed in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution of India. Additionally, this community is already protected under the Constitution of India and is categorized as (i) General, (ii) Other Backward Classes (OBC), and (iii) Schedule Caste (SC).
“Therefore, the UNC strongly condemns the recent order of the Manipur High Court on March 27, directing the government of Manipur to make a recommendation for the inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei community in the ST list, despite strong opposition from the Scheduled Tribes of the state,” it added.
It should be noted that several valley-based civil society organizations in the state, such as the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) and the World Meitei Council, have been strongly demanding the inclusion of the Meitei community in the ST list. However, tribal bodies, including the UNC and the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), have raised strong objections to this demand.