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ATSUM calls Manipur High Court’s directive on Meitei/Meetei ST status “ex parte judgment”

Last Updated on April 22, 2023 by SPN Editor

Imphal (SPN) | The All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) has denounced the recent Manipur High Court’s directive to send recommendations for Meitei/Meetei enlistment in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list, calling the Manipur High Court’s directive an ex parte judgment that only catered to the interests of the petitioners.

In a statement, the student body called April 19 a “black letter day” for the tribal people of Manipur, saying that the ruling contradicts their wishes and aspirations.

ATSUM has pledged to explore all legal means to stop the state government from sending recommendations to the central government, calling the demand for ST status by the socially and economically advanced Meitei community uncalled for.

According to ATSUM, the court’s directive is particularly troubling for the sense of security felt by tribal people, who are otherwise protected under the provisions of the Constitution.

The student body argues that the tribal community has long opposed Meitei inclusion as they are comparatively advanced, and the court’s ruling “completely negates” the objective of protective discrimination.

ATSUM is now blaming the state government, accusing it of consenting to the ex parte judgment and calling on it to protect the emotional integrity of the state.

ATSUM is now urging the state government to refrain from recommending Meitei inclusion in the ST list, stating that it “completely affects the rights and interests of the tribal people” and “has the potential of adversely affecting the unity and integrity of the people”.

The student body is now appealing to the government to uphold the emotional integrity of the state, which it claims will disintegrate once the demand for Meitei inclusion is granted.

During the meeting of tribal student organizations convened by ATSUM, the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) was praised for taking into account the sentiments, rights, and interests of the STs of Manipur.

Meanwhile, the Meetei Tribe Union (MTU) is confident that the state government will send recommendations to the Centre (Ministry of Tribal Affairs) for Meetei/Meitei enlistment in the ST list of the Constitution within the time frame set by the High Court of Manipur.

The ruling by the High Court of Manipur on April 19 came after hearing a petition filed by the Meetei (Meitei) Tribe Union over the delay in forwarding recommendations for nearly a decade by successive governments in Manipur.

As per the ruling, the state must consider the demands of the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) and others who back the Meetei/Meitei ST status demand within four weeks.

Speaking to the media at the Manipur Press Club, Meetei Tribe Union secretary Mutum Churamani called for a discussion on the Meitei/Meetei ST status demand.

Churamani stated that the Union is open to discussing ways to forward the recommendation from the organization that initiated the movement and those that support it and that the Union will endorse any decision taken in the larger interest of the ethnic group.

He also urged all organizations and individuals to refrain from making statements that could misjudge the movement on TV channels or other platforms.

According to Churamani, the Meetei/Meitei community is politically and economically backward due to the lack of Constitutional safeguards. He added that the inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the ST list would provide the necessary protection and aid in their development.

He further stated that the inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list would not harm the interests of others. He emphasized that a united Manipur could only be achieved when there is an understanding among the indigenous groups in both hill and valley districts.