No ST, no election : MMTU

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Mar 24 : Reaffirming its stand to not take part in any election related activities until Scheduled Tribe (ST) status is given to Meetei/Meitei, the Meetei (Meitei) Tribe Union (MMTU) has announced that they are prepared to launch a "No ST No Vote" campaign along with like minded people and organisations.
MMTU, in a statement, asked whether MLAs and MPs of the ruling party who were elected by the people but failed to live up to people's expectation can still be called representatives of the people.
People's representatives should work in the interest of the people, the Union said and asked if people are still obliged to take part in electoral politics.
Stating that many Meetei/Meitei people have been demanding enlistment of the ethnic group in the ST list under Article 342 (1) of the Constitution since the last many years, the MMTU maintained that the State Government hasn't even sent the recommendation required to verify whether Meetei/Meitei in the ST list.
Further stating that the Government hasn't done anything to sort out the difference between those who demand ST status for Meetei/Meitei and those who oppose it, the Union asked if the MLAs who didn't even discuss the ST status demand by Meetei/Meitei can be called as  representatives of the people.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Minister of Earth Sciences Kiran Rijiju had on multiple occasions depicted the direction given by the Manipur High Court to the State Government to send the recommendation to examine whether Meetei/Meitei fulfils the criteria to be identified as ST as the root cause of the violence besieging Manipur, MMTU lamented and added that people across the globe, however, know the truth.
MMTU takes the matter very seriously as there may be a collusion between the Government of India and a section of people to  not grant ST status to Meetei/Meitei, the Union maintained and claimed that the Centre can grant ST status to Meetei/Meitei even without the recommendation from the State Government if they want to.
The Union elaborated that Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the enlistment of a Pahari ethnic group in Jammu and Kashmir in the ST list during an election rally on October 4, 2022.
About the violence in Manipur, MMTU stated that the violent campaign of Kuki narco-terrorists against the Meetei/Meitei is still not over.
Stating that Kuki narco-terrorists have been attacking Meetei/Meitei villages whenever they get the opportunity, the Union continued that no understanding has been reached between the Meetei/Meitei and the Kuki as of yet.
The Centre and the State Government haven't put any sincere effort to end the violence even though many people continue to take refuge at relief camps and their relative houses, MMTU maintained.
MMTU further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been maintaining studied silence on Manipur violence let alone visit the State.
Political parties have started campaigning for the Lok Sabha election by turning a blind eye to all the sufferings of the people and it is very unfortunate, the Union said.
The Prime Minister, Union Ministers and leaders of different ruling political parties used to visit Manipur one after another at the time of election, it said and accused the Central leadership of not taking the popular demand to add Meetei/Meitei in the ST list seriously and of leaving the people of Manipur to their fate.