STDCM seeks support for Mar 3 rally

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Feb 21: The STDCM has appealed for mass support and participation in the public rally scheduled on March 3 in pursuit of the demand for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in ST category.
Speaking to media persons at the Konung Mamang office of HERICOUN today, Coordinating Body of STDCM (CBSTDCM) convenor Laishram Romesh appealed to all CSOs, political parties and people of all walks of life to participate in the rally and extend moral, physical and monetary support to the rally.
The rally which would be flagged off from THAU Ground at 10 am would wind up at Hapta Kangjeibung after passing through North AOC, Minuthong, Hafiz Hatta and Checkon.
A public convention would be held at Hapta Kangjeibung at the end of the rally and some resolutions would be adopted, Romesh said.
He said that since 2012, STDCM has been demanding inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the ST list under Article 342(I) of the Constitution so that they can protect their rights and identity through a Constitutional safeguard.
Responding to a memorandum submitted by STDCM, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs asked the State Government on May 29, 2013 to send a recommendation along with socio-economic status and ethnographic report. But the State Government is yet to send any such recommendation till date, Romesh decried.
After a mass public rally was held on the demand on September 18 last year, a public convention was held on January 13 this year and the convention even resolved to call a general strike.
Meanwhile, at the invitation of the State Government, the STDCM held three rounds of talks with the Chief Minister on January 18, February 6 and February 16 but the Chief Minister refused to give any specific time frame for sending a recommendation to the Centre, he said.
Tai-Ahom community of Assam which has a population of about 40 lakh was recently enlisted in the ST category along with Koch-Rajbongshi, Moran, Mutok, Chutia and Tea Tribes.
But Meiteis/Meeteis who occupy just 10 per cent of the total geographical area are not yet given any Constitutional safeguard in the face of the vigorous push for Asian Highway, Trans Asian Railway etc, Romesh pointed out.
He said that Meitei/Meetei is the only community among all the indigenous communities of the North East which has not yet been enlisted in the ST category.

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