ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Violence over ST Status

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The riots between the Meitei and Kuki tribes of Manipur are primarily centred on the Meitei communitys quest for the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status and the Kuki tribes opposition to this demand. The Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) is at the forefront of this movement, seeking constitutional safeguards for the Meitei community. The Meiteis are the followers of Lord Krishna and mostly live in the valleys of Manipur. Recently, the Manipur High Court directed the state government to consider including the Meitei community in the ST list. But the hill tribes, that is, the Kuki community, are against the court order. The Meiteis claim that they were called a tribe before 1947 and hence need the ST status to preserve their community and save their ancestral land, culture, and language. The Meiteis and Meitei Pangals occupy about 10% of the land mass in the central valley. They comprise 64.6% of the states people. Hills surrounding the valley in the remaining 90% of the region are home to the recognised tribes, which comprise around 35.4% of the population.

The existing ST communities, particularly the Kukis, are concerned about the Meitei community being added to the ST list because they worry that the Meiteis will take unfair advantage of job opportunities and other benefits provided to the STs under the Constitution. The Kukis claim that some groups among the Meiteis are already granted the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) status. The Mandal Commission report from the 1980s and the implementation of its recommendations beginning in 1992 allowed the Meiteis to be categorised as OBC under Article 342A of the Constitution in the state list and union list. Also, the political domination of the Meiteis in the state legislative assembly is 40 out of the total 60 seats.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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