New Delhi: The World Meetei Council (WMC) held a press conference at Press Club of India in New Delhi on Thursday.
WMC highlighted that the Meetei people, also known as the Manipuri people or Meitei, are one of the ethnic group of people in Manipur in Northeast India. They speak Meetei language (officially
called Meeteilon, also known as Manipuri), one of the languages included in the 8th schedule.
The below are few pointers from WMC as per the the press conference presentation:
• One of the oldest scriptures (puyas) – “Wakoklon Heelel Thilen Salai Amailon Pukok
Puya”, shortly known as the Wakoklon is one of the most notable historical literary works
for Meetei. It is verified that it was written in 1398 BC (3400 years ago) by the National
Archives, New Delhi.
• Meetei consist of seven big families known as salai-taret (7 clans).
• There are only two indigenous community in Manipur i.e., Meetei & Naga.
• Meetei were believer of Animistic religion, however, they became Hindu since 18th
WMC made 9 arguments as to why the Meetei needs Constitutional protection:
• Meetei do not have a second home except Manipur.
• The latest census shows the population of Meetei is 15 Lacs in Manipur.
• However, Meetei can live only in valley area which is about 9% of the total land area of Manipur.
• The immigrant Chin-Kuki people came to Manipur in 18th century but the major chunk of their
population came after 1951.
• The Govt. of India mistakenly granted ST status to these immigrant community, this is the source
of the whole problem.
• The continuous influx of these immigrant community from Myanmar poses a big threat to the
demography as well as socio-economy of the indigenous community in Manipur.
• As the Meetei can live only in the valley area, on the contrary, every community can settle in the
valley area including this immigrant community. This is a serious threat to the Meetei.
• The Meetei are not conversant with the modern trading, the 95% of the economy of Manipur
which is controlled by the Imphal bazar area that belongs to non-Meetei community.
• Therefore, Meetei needs constitutional protection which is ST Status for the survival in our own
home stateIt may be mentioned that the WMC in had urged the government of Manipur and the centre to expedite the process to include Meetei in the list of Scheduled Tribes of the Indian Constitution.
WMC also pointed out few ill-effects of the illegal immigrants in Manipur
• The serious changes in the demography
• Is it the reason for current unrest due to the huge demographic shift in the population by the immigrant.
• The deforestation and poppy cultivation in the forest lands among others.
Also read | 100 goods-laden trucks reach Imphal: PRO Defence
It may be mentioned that WMC in March 24, 2023 urged the government of Manipur and the centre to expedite the process to include Meetei in the list of Scheduled Tribes of the Indian Constitution.
The organisation’s central executive committee had pointed out the unchecked influx of illegal migrants from across the international border especially from neighbouring Myanmar, stating that the demography showed a fundamental change.
“The illegal migrants had merged with the local population having matching ethnicity. This has caused an unhealthy effects to the Socio-political atmosphere in Manipur. We know that this migrant community have been planning to carve out a homeland from this tiny state. The students and civil organisations have been urging the government to implement NRC,” WMC had said.