IMPHAL, Sept 18 - More than one lakh people took to the streets here demanding inclusion of �Meetei/Meitei in the list of Scheduled Tribes of India� on Sunday.
The rally organised by Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) began from Thangmeiband Athletic Union ground in Imphal West district and passed through the major streets of Imphal and converged at Hafta Kangjeibung in Imphal East district where a public meeting was also organised.
Informing that the rally was staged following the decisions at a recent public convention, STDCM general secretary Laishram Lokendra said that the Centre has sought the State Government�s recommendation on the demand for inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the list of ST. But the State Government is yet to give its recommendation, he alleged.
Stating that the ongoing public movement is not anti-tribal but pro-tribal, he said that it would not hurt the interests of the tribals in the State. �It will bring a cohesive and harmonious society in Manipur based on ethnic social equality�, he claimed.
STDCM joint secretary K Bhogendrajit said that the movement is to provide constitutional safeguards to Meetei/Meitei�s ethnic identity and also to prevent it from becoming extinct.
Meiteis having a population of about 10 lakh face the fear of becoming minority and ultimately extinct due to unabated influx from outside, according to STDCM.
The rally adopted three resolutions demanding inclusion of Meetei/Meitei in the list of ST list of India, urging the State Government to send its recommendation to Centre by October next. The rally also resolved to hold public agitations in support of its demands.