Politics along community line Philosophy of ganging up

To repeat a line used just a few days back in this very column, ‘Meenashu Yaroi, Lainashu Yaroi’ (Earth and even Heaven will not accept this) and this pertains to the stiff opposition put up by not only the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM), but ostensibly by many others who have come to identify themselves as upholding the rights of the hill people or the Scheduled Tribe folks of Manipur to the demand that the Meiteis be included in the Scheduled Tribe list of the Constitution of India. That the tribal student body has thought it fit to club the ST for Meiteis demand as well as the recent unrest in the Kuki dominated districts of Churachandpur and to a lesser extent at Kangpokpi together should tell a very significant story. A case of identifying the elected Government of Manipur with a particular community, which in this case is the Meiteis and nothing can be more far fetched than this. No point in going into history, but to deliver a statement that needs to land on target, perhaps ATSUM has forgotten that Manipur has had two Chief Ministers from the hills in the persons of the late Yangmasho Shaiza and Rishang Keishing. Other than these two personalities, Manipur has also seen some of the tallest political personalities in the persons of the late Phungzathang Tonsing and Gaikhangam. Many continue to revere the late Gangmumei Kamei and it is history that  Gangmumei Kamei was at one point of time the favourite to win the Assembly election from Thangmeiband Assembly Constituency way back in 1980 but closely lost to former Chief Minister Radhabinod Koijam. Former Lok Sabha MP from Outer Parliamentary Constituency, Late Suisa Rungsung is a respected political leader, whose far sightedness is recalled to this day by the Meiteis. History one may say, particularly ATSUM, but keep in mind that such histories could not have been a reality if the hill people are as oppressed as the student body would like the people to believe. Or is it a case of those who came in late not knowing the facts of Manipur ? This is only a question which ATSUM can answer. On the other hand it stands that what the Meiteis are demanding is nothing but some sort of a Constitutional protection and this has nothing to do with the rights of the existing STs of Manipur. As pointed out many times in this column, this is a matter which is to be decided by the Centre and the socio-economic report, as sought by the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, is just a report, a report on which basis the Centre will take the call on whether the Meiteis fit the description to be tagged a Scheduled Tribe or not.
If ATSUM is under the impression that the Meitei community is ‘way too developed’ to be included in the ST list then why is it so apprehensive of the High Court of Manipur directing the State Government to send the needed report ? This is obviously not the time to repeat the same old line ‘Meiteis are well advanced with Meiteilon being included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution’ etc. A group of people already dubbed a tribal group by the British and not included in the Scheduled list is what the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, the World Meetei Council and Kangleipak Kanba Lup have put up and there should be no two ways about this. The steps before the State Government should be clear. Send the needed report to the Centre within the time frame already given by the High Court of Manipur. Convey to New Delhi of the pressing need to conduct a National Register of Citizens with 1951 as the base year as demanded by some civil society organisations, try to work out from where the people, who set up the villages at the Protected Forest and were evicted some time back, came and importantly too try to find out where they have gone after they were evicted. A look at the number of villages springing up overnight at some hill areas should tell its own significant story and certainly this is not the Manipur that anyone would want to see. The Government should stand its ground.