Women vendors press for ST status

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Apr 16: Endorsing the popular demand for enlistment of Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe category, women vendors of Khwairamband Ima Keithel today staged a protest demonstration at the main market.
Through the protest demonstration, the Khwairamband Ima Keithel Joint Coordinating Committee for Peace has urged the State Government to send necessary recommendation to the Central Government for granting ST status to the Meitei community before the ensuing Lok Sabha election.
Speaking to the media, the committee’s co-convenor Y Ibeyaima decried that contrary to the high expectations pinned on Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the State on Monday, he did not speak a single word on the popular demand of ST status.
The issue of granting ST status was there since the time of late Chief Minister Rishang Keishing but nothing concrete has been done to address the issue till date, Ibeyaima said.
If the Meitei community is not granted ST status before the delimitation exercise is carried out, the community would be wiped out sooner rather than later, she said.
As such, there is an urgent need to send the necessary recommendation along with the Meitei community’s ethnographic and socio-economic report to the Centre, she added.
The protesters shouted slogans like, “Chief Minister N Biren should not blackmail the Meitei community on ST issue”, “The only way to save the Meitei community is granting ST status,” and “The necessary recommendation and the reports must be sent before the Lok Sabha election”.