By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Sep 10: Reasoning that inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei community in the ST list of the Indian Constitution is the only way to save the indigenous people, the Apunba Ireipakki Maheiroi Sinpanglup Manipur (AIMS) has assured to fully support the steps taken up by the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM).
Speaking to media persons at AIMS HQ at Kwakeithel Girls High School today, its vice president Saikhom Premchand said that inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei in the ST list is necessary to save the indigenous people from the threat posed by the uncontrolled influx of outsiders into the State.
He explained that as per the census record of 1891, Manipuris are mentioned as a forest tribe.
Under the British rule, the Meitei/Meetei community was in the ST list in the 1931 census. As such, the Meitei/Meetei community should be included in the ST list of the 1950 census, he reasoned.
Narrating that the community failed to get included in the ST list due to the Hindu wave at that time as well as some other factors, Premchand said that as the community is not included in the ST list, they are not protected by any special safeguards of the Constitution.
On the other hand, he clarified that if Meitei/Meetei gets included into the ST list, it will not mean that the rights and powers of the tribals people will be affected.
Similar to the system in Assam and Nagaland, the people can be classified into hill tribe, plain tribe, backward and advanced tribe in the Constitution and still live peacefully, he explained
Stressing on the importance for the people to come together and work for the inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the ST list, Premchand announced that AIMS will offer full support to every step taken up by STDCM in this regard.
AIMS will also do all the needful to protect the indigenous people, he added.