The World Meetei Convention (WMC) in a press release Tuesday appealed leaders of communities and political parties of the Northeast to support the Meetei people in their endeavour to include the the community in the list of scheduled tribes.
In the release, WMC general secretary Yambem Arun Meetei said that Meetei are indigenous people like any other indigenous people in the Northeast who are already listed in the ST list.
Scheduled Tribe status for the Meitei/Meetei community the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur (STDCM) has been urging and demanding the State Government for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the ST list. WMC in the release said that it has decided to support the demand of the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (STDM).
The release further said that population wise, Meetei is smaller than Naga and Chin-Kuki groups in the Northeast. However, WMC pointed out that the Meetei leaders had wrongly identified the Meetei people as coming from the Aryan lineage at the time of merger when they were asked to identify themselves whether they belong to indigenous tribal groups. Owing to this outcome it forfeited the natural rights of the indigenous Meetei people.
STDCM in a press release on July 23 cautioned that if the Meetei/Meetei are not given a Constitutional safeguard to protect its identity, the arrival railway project being taken up on Imphal-Jiribam road will do more harm than good to the Meetei/Meetei, who inhabit the valley of Manipur, the committee had said.