Only ST tag can save Meeteis : WMC


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By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Apr 2: The World Meetei Council (WMC) has categorically stated that only enlistment of Meeteis/Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe category of the Indian Constitution can save the community.
Speaking to media persons at Manipur Press Club here today, WMC Manipur Unit president Urikhinbam Kunjo said that the Meitei/Meetei would be doomed if the community cannot get themselves enlisted in the ST category before delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies which would be done in 2026.
There would not be any political space for Meiteis and when Meiteis grow weaker and weaker, Manipur will get disintegrated, he warned.
During the recent fifth session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly, agendas like abrogation of SoO agreement, updating of NRC with respect to Manipur and expediting border fencing were discussed at length and even resolutions were adopted.
These resolutions may be able to preserve the geographical integrity of Manipur but they would not be able to protect the identity of the Meitei/Meetei community, Kunjo said.  
He asserted that the one and only possible way to protect Meitei/Meetei is enlistment of the community in the Constitution’s ST category.
The issue of granting ST status to the Meitei community was raised as a private member resolution by the Congress party but the motion was not admitted by the House.
Nonetheless, MLA Th Lokeshwar raised the same issue as a short duration discussion but the Chief Minister did not give any response, Kunjo said.
He then urged the State Government to send the Meetei community’s socio-economic survey and ethnographic reports to the Central Government without any further delay.  
The Centre had sought the report way back in May 2013.
“If the honourable Chief Minister sends the report, his name would be etched distinctly in the history of Manipur. If not, his name will remain a blot in the history of the land forever,” Kunjo said.
The WMC would either directly or indirectly support the proposed mass movement announced by the Khwairamband Ima Keithel Joint Coordinating Committee for Peace in pursuit of the popular and legitimate demand for inclusion of Meetei in the ST list, he said.
If necessary, the WMC would work together with the Khwairamband Ima Keithel Joint Coordinating Committee for Peace, he added.