Karam Shyam too backs ST demand

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Nov 13: Although the State Government hasn't made any official statement on sending the recommendations sought by the Centre to consider enlistment of Meetei/Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list of the Constitution, the movement launched by the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) and supported by the likes of World Meetei Council (WMC) and other organisations is continuously getting support from Ministers and MLAs of different valley Constituencies.
Today, members of STDCM and other like minded organisations called on Langthabal AC MLA Karam Shyam at his residence and submitted a memorandum to declare his stand on the movement and urge the State Government to send the much needed recommendations to the Centre.
Talking to the visiting team, Karam Shyam said he fully endorses the STDCM in its endeavour to add the ethnic group in the ST list under Article 342 (1) of the Constitution.
The MLA, however, opined that there must be unity among the Meetei/Meitei populace while placing the demand so as to make the movement more convincing.
Saying that the movement which demands inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the ST list is rational as the ethic group has been exposed to many threats, the MLA continued that the Meetei/Meitei could be counted as a minority when taking the population size of India into consideration.
K Shyam maintained that there also is a growing apprehension among the Meetei/Meitei populace on its survival due to certain factors.
"It is the responsibility of us legislators to understand the sentiments of the people and act on it," the MLA added.
He also exuded confidence that the movement of STDCM will surely yield results if there is unity among the Meetei/Meetei populace on the issue and put collective pressure on the Government.
K Shyam said that he will discuss the matter with Chief Minister N Biren Singh soon 'but granting ST status to a particular community will take time as the process is lengthy and require a discussion in the House.'
After the meeting, STDCM working president Laishram Lokendra conveyed that the MLA had given a positive response to its demand.
When asked about the objection being raised to its movement from several quarters, Lokendra responded that the State Government must hold a dialogue with all the stakeholders concerned and convince them to not interfere as the matter is a question of survival of the Meetei/Meitei on their ancestral land.
"It is natural for some communities to react while demanding ST tag for a particular community and the same was seen in other States too including Assam," he said.