Manipur Government should recommend Meetei for inclusion in the ST list

It is an established fact that Meetei is a tribe/aborigine/adivasi/first settler/indigenous/original people of this land/state called Manipur, at present. None can refute it. It is historically proven fact that many people – past or present, Indians or Non-Indians, educated or un-educated. According to Supreme Court of India, the highest court of the country, in one of its landmark judgements on 5th Jan., 2011 in connection with a criminal case no. 10367, stated that the present Scheduled tribes of India are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the country. Which means that the indigenous Meeteis living in the state are Scheduled Tribes yet to be included in the ST list of the country. Since Meetei fellows the old traditions, culture, language, etc. of their fore-fathers, they become a permanent tribe as per the International Labour Organisation, a specialized agency of UNO.
According to Prof. BK Roy Burman, who was chairman of Minority Commission of India, popularly known as “Walking Encyclopaedia”, a renowned Anthropologist and Social Scientist of the country also termed indigenous people as Scheduled Tribe and that Meetei as one principal tribe in North East India. Prof. Gangumei Kabui, noted historian of the North-East recognised Meetei as an important tribe in his book “The History of Manipur”, Mr ASW Shimray in his book “The History of Tangkhuls” writes Tangkhuls and Meeteis are descendants of the same progenitor in the distant past. In the voluminous and authoritative book “The Linguistic Survey of India”, a survey carried out between 1894 -1928, G.A. Greirson claimed that Naga-Kuki Chin and Meetei are within the same and single ethnic entity. Above all these, there are scores of books, records, memoirs, publications, etc. which identify Meetei as tribe and indigenous people and that Meeteis are one of the principal Indo-Chinese tribes of the North East India. Whether one likes to recognise Meetei as a tribe or not is immaterial but history or truth cannot be altered, defaced or changed by any individual organisation or Govt.
Inclusion of about 8 lakhs Meeteis in the ST list of over 700 communities / tribes in the country and about 400 millions in the world should not have any objection from any quarters rather should extend warm welcome. It may be noted that when many indigenous tribes in the state were enlisted in the ST list of the country no individual, organisation or Meetei objected to it and allowed smooth sailing because there was no room for objection except the Govt. of India.
It is quite disheartening to note that some social organisations and individuals, based in the hills and valley, are objecting to the demand of Meetei’s inclusion in the ST list of the country. They should reconsider their views and come out in full support of the demand of the Meeteis as it was happened in Assam where STs protested against the inclusion of fresh 6 tribes but later on they withdrew their demand and supported in the inclusion, and ultimately Assam Govt. recommended for inclusion of 6 new tribes in ST list. In the above circumstances, Manipur Government should send recommendation for inclusion of Meetei in ST list to the Government of India at the earliest as it is under the provision of the Constitution of India and is the genuine and popular demand of the Meetei community, the indigenous people of the state.
Yours faithfully,
Dr Thangjam Ranjit
Thangmeiband Sinam Leikai

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