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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

High Court decision to revoke inclusion of Meiteis in ST list evokes contrasting reactions

While Meitei organisations said it will continue the movement for ST status for the community claiming it is not just a matter of the judiciary, a Kuki bodies welcomed the verdict

PTI Imphal/Churachandpur Published 22.02.24, 08:16 PM
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Representational Image File photo

The Manipur High Court's decision to delete a paragraph from its March 2023 order which urged the state to consider including the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list, has evoked contrasting reactions from the two warring communities in the northeastern state.

While Meitei organisations said it will continue the movement for ST status for the community claiming it is not just a matter of the judiciary, a Kuki bodies welcomed the verdict asserting that it is the right decision.

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Keithelakpam Bhogen, the general secretary of the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee Manipur (STDCM), expressed determination to continue the movement for ST status for the Meitei community despite the court's decision.

He said the issue is not solely a judicial matter and vowed to persist in their efforts, including engaging with legislators.

World Meitei Council president Heigrujam Nabashyam downplayed the significance of the directive, stating that their demand for ST status would persist, unaffected by the court's decision.

The March 27, 2023 directive, believed to be a catalyst for ethnic unrest that claimed over 200 lives, was rescinded by a single judge bench of Justice Golmei Gaiphulshillu during a review petition hearing on Wednesday.

The contentious paragraph from last year's verdict, instructing the state to expedite consideration of Meitei community inclusion, was deemed for deletion.

On the other hand, the Zomi Council Steering Committee convener welcomed the high court's decision, considering it the right course of action.

ITLF media spokesperson Ginza Vualzong criticised the Meitei community's demand for ST status, characterising it as absurd and driven by ulterior motives such as land acquisition of tribals.

Vualzong argued that the Meiteis, being an advanced group with their language recognised in the Constitution, should not seek ST status.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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