Manipur | Thousands protest demanding inclusion of Meitei community in ST list

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IMPHAL, March 4, 2019: A mass protest rally was organised here by Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (STDC) on Sunday demanding Scheduled Tribe status for ethnic Meitei community in Manipur.

Addressing the rally, STDC leaders stressed the necessity of enlisting Meiti community under ST category to protect them from the "unabated influx of illegal immigrants".

STDC general secretary K Bhogendrajit said the committee has been demanding the inclusion of Meitis in the ST list for six years.

But the BJP government and the previous Congress dispensation of the state had not even considered forwarding a recommendation to the Centre, on enlisting the community under ST category, Bhogendrajit said.

"The recommendation should be sent to the Centre before the model code of conduct comes into force before the upcoming parliamentary elections," he said.

Meiteis are the only indigenous people in the state who are not included in the ST category thereby making them vulnerable in all aspects, he said.

"The demand for ST status stems from the fact that the Meitei community is gradually being marginalised by illegal immigrants and if the trend continues, they will be rendered minority in their own state," Bhogendrajit said.

The committee had earlier cautioned all political parties that they would be boycotted if their demand was not met.

Vice-president of Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) N Edison said that the socio-economic condition of the Meiteis have worsened over the years.

"The only way to protect the community is to achieve constitutional safeguard through enlistment in the ST category," he said.

(PTI)