The All Tribal Rights’ Protection Forum, Manipur (ATRPFM) has voiced strong opposition to the movement for inclusion of Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe list.
ATRPFM president Joseph Rongmei through a statement issued on Tuesday appealed to all the ‘tribal leaders, politicians and eminent personalities’ not to co-operate with the campaign launched by Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (STDCM) demanding ST status for Meiteis.
The ATRPFM president also alleged that the campaign has some ‘hidden agenda’ and ‘conspiracy’.
Further, the ATRPFM appealed to the N Biren Singh Government and the Manipur State Commission for Scheduled Tribe not to recommend the demand of the STDCM cautioning that ‘such move of the government will bring conflict among different tribes in the State.
The ATRPFM also said for peaceful co-existence of Meiteis and the hill communities, ‘it is better not to encroach each other’s rights but be satisfied with one’s existing rights given by the Indian Constitution’.
Joseph also asserted that it is ‘shameful’ for the Meeteis demanding ST status which they have rejected in the past citing it as ‘worthless and barbarian class’.
He also added that there is no common history and mythology between the Meiteis and the existing tribal communities. Both have their own ‘unique identity, lifestyle and religion, he added.
The statement of the forum came just a day after former tribal minister R V Mingthing has given consent to the STDCM on the issue of granting ST status to the Meities.