Take another look at the ST demand The wrongs of the past
The Government of Manipur should wake up to the demand being raised for it is about the future of the Meitei people. The Meiteis too should revisit what happened 200/300 years back and see how they had treated the present day group of people who come under the Scheduled Tribe category or Haos as they are being known or called by the Meiteis. And it stands that the Haos have been segregated and even made a butt of jokes by the Meiteis on many occasion. This point is being raised now cause the voice that the Meiteis be granted the ST status has been getting more and more audible with each passing day. The Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur has been followed by the World Meetei Council now and both have raised this point rather forcefully without resorting to ‘hard talks.’ Nothing wrong, but at this point of time perhaps it would be right for the Meiteis to first say ‘Sorry’ to the Haos and proceed with the demand that they be made Haos or Scheduled Tribe. This is what is needed and next should be for the Meiteis to sort out their internal differences, with some going against the ST demand and some voting for it. The point is when this issue is not even being agreed upon, can one expect the Government of Manipur to forward this proposal with the needed conviction ? The Sangai Express does stand by the idea that some sort of Constitutional protection is needed for this group of people, the Meiteis to survive fittingly. It is difficult to understand why some would still stand against the idea of getting some Constitutional protection. Wasn’t the demand for Inner Line Permit System along this line ? Maybe the people who are against the ST status demand will understand this poser.
The Meiteis are an edangered lot. Some protection is highly needed. Go outside Manipur and all the Meiteis become Chinkies, Momos, Ching Chong Chinamen, and this is a fact. People from Nagaland know for a fact that they are protected under the Constitution of India. So what is wrong in asking for some sort of Constitutional protection, which the ST status can grant the people ? In Assam, already six communities have been identified as people who can come under the ST tag and the same thing has been recommended to the Centre. The interesting question is what is stopping the BJP led Government at Imphal from recommending that the Meiteis be granted the ST status in line with how the Government of Assam has recommended that the Chutiya, Koch-Rajbongshi, Matak, Moran, Tai-Ahom and ‘Tea Tribe’, be added as Scheduled Tribes ? These communities, like the Meiteis come under the Other Backward Classes. This is a point which everyone concerned should study. Now is perhaps the time to right the wrong of the past. Let the Meiteis understand that their existence as a people will be hard to protect without some sort of Constitutional protection. Let the Government of the day wake up to this point and let the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur and the World Meetei Council take this issue up so that it can figure as one of the more prominent issues ahead of the election, scheduled for the early part of next year.