Mum on the points of JCILPS, STDCM Deafening silence
Selective silence and the State Government seems to be adept in this fine art. Goes some way in understanding why Imphal has still not spelt out why it has preferred to keep 1961 as the base year for identifying non-local people. The Government has also seemingly preferred to maintain a stoic silence, bordering more on indifference, why it still has not sent a report on the socio-economic survey and ethnographic report to New Delhi to see if the Meeteis/Meiteis can be included in the Scheduled Tribe list of the Constitution of India. Maintaining a stoic silence on these two very crucial points may not be what the doctor would prescribe for both points have the potential to snowball into major issues. Wonder what is stopping the State Government to set the base year to identify the non-locals at 1951 as demanded by the JCILPS and send the economic and ethnographic report of the Meeteis/Meiteis to the Centre. As noted earlier in this column, the STDCM was quick to respond to a point raised by The Sangai Express in this column and made available a copy of the communication of the Centre to the State Government dated May 29, 2013 asking for a socio-economic survey and ethnographic report of the Meeteis/Meiteis in the backdrop of the demand that the said community be enlisted in the ST category of the Constitution. The demand that Imphal send the said report continues to stand and it is this very point which the STDCM and the World Meetei Council (WMC) have been using to highlight, what they allege is the indifference of the State Government. At the moment, STDCM seems to be more particular about spreading their viewpoint to the people, ahead of a stringent movement. And perhaps this is also the time to ponder why the ST demand could not be a major poll issue just before the Assembly elections held in the early part of this year. Taking the people along and while this is a necessity to give more teeth and muscle to the ST demand, this should explain why the campaign is presently underway in different parts of the State. Here it would also do good for the leaders of the STDCM and WMC to see how to convince the other communities which are already under the ST tag that the demand would not hurt their interests in any way. How this is done remains to be seen, but it is important that all stakeholders are taken along.
It is also time for all concerned to seriously study why Manipur has such a pull factor. Such an approach will certainly give more punch to the stand of the JCILPS and this is where it needs to be understood why there is the growing need to identify those who came to the State after 1951. And this is where the stand of The Sangai Express that some sort of a mechanism ought to be put in place to monitor the Myanmar refugees who have entered the State in the face of the upheaval in the neighbouring country should be understood. As repeatedly stated in this column, there is a point or two to take from the Government of Mizoram in that it is in a position to give the figure of refugees who have entered the neighbouring State. Moreover reports coming in from Mizoram say that refugees are being housed in camps. Manipur too faces this situation and this is a point which should be made very clear to New Delhi. Sneak in and mingle with the local folks and herein lies the perfect recipe for more non-locals or non-indigenous folks to come into the State. It may help if the JCILPS can take up this matter with the State Government too, for remember the arrival of non-locals should also encompass the eastern side, that is the neighbouring country of Myanmar. These are two issues which Imphal should respond to for they have all the potential to snowball into something bigger if not tackled well on time.