World Meetei Council says ATSUM spreading lies; Meetei and Naga aboriginal people of the state

Imphal: The World Meetei Council (WMC) in a letter to prime minister Narendra Modi said that it is constrained to bring to his attention that a student’s organisation in the name of All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM), which claims to represent different native indigenous people of Manipur have been indulging in extremely provocative activities spreading lies in the National capital meeting union ministers etc, to misrepresent and falsify the demand of the Meetei people to include in the list of Scheduled Tribes to save themselves from total annihilation.

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The letter to the prime minister said that the Meeteis are the aboriginal people of Manipur along with the Naga. They are formed by seven clans or seven big families which we, Meetei called as Salai Taret. However as the Meetei were converted to Hinduism in 18th century they were taken as Aryans. That was the only reason why Meetei were taken as general and not as a Scheduled Tribe. “Our elders too were proud to be identified as Aryans and therefore they never pointed out that Meetei were aboriginal people like the Naga,” WMC wrote.

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It further said, “what is extremely unfortunate is that the Meetei are not allowed by the Indian Constitution to live as rightful citizens in Manipur. They can live only in 9% of the area of Manipur, which is the valley area situated in the middle. This is great injustice meted out to the Meetei people. The
reason being Meetei are not included in the list of Scheduled Tribes and the 91% land area of Manipur is protected for the communities who are enlisted in the ST list. When the Meetei people are asking for their rightful place in the list of Scheduled Tribes as they fulfill all the criteria prescribed by the Lokur Committee a section of the communities who are wrongly enlisted as Scheduled Tribes namely the Chin-Kuki groups of people in the name of ATSUM raised objections vehemently to the Meetei demand.”

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“The fact is the Chin-Kuki groups of people did migrated from Burma (Myanmar) and they were
permitted by the Manipur government to settle under the refugee settlement policy on humanitarian consideration. However when the Chin-Kuki groups of people got settled down in Manipur they became trouble creators even working to carb out an independent homeland which they call as Zalengam,” the letter maintained.

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It furthermore said, “now these Chin-Kuki people may be because they are migrants, they do not know who the Meeteis are and therefore they are going much beyond Manipur. They are seriously trying to
demonize the Meetei population across borders especially among the Scheduled Tribes population in India.
Such unrestrained communal activities of these Chin-Kuki people are bound to cause serious unwanted situations in Manipur and northeast as well.

Arguing that the Chin-Kuki groups of people who are wrongly enlisted in the list of Scheduled Tribes of Manipur, WMC earnestly requested the prime minister to look into the matter so that they are removed from the list of Scheduled Tribes and only the genuine indigenous people are enlisted.

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The World Meetei Council concluded that “The law of the land is clear. Migrants and their children cannot in any case become Scheduled Tribes in India and particularly in Manipur. Indeed the Scheduled Tribes in India are the aboriginal inhabitants of the land who are generally called as indigenous people. The Chin-Kuki groups of people are still living in their original homeland – the Chin state in Burma. And it may also be pointed out that they also claim to be Jewish people and the Israeli government have accepted them and accordingly some of them have migrated to Israel and settled there. These are the facts based on records which are available in the government records of Manipur and the Centre as well.”

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