Over removing Kuki-Zos from ST list, ITLF slams Manipur govt

Over removing Kuki-Zos from ST list, ITLF slams Manipur govt

IMPHAL: The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) has slammed the central and the Manipur government over reported plans to remove Kuki-Zo-Chin people from the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list.

The ITLF has said that the reported plans to remove Kuki-Zo-Chin people from ST list “is a well-coordinated move by the state (Manipur) government and Meitei chauvinists”.

The tribal body said that by doing so, the “Manipur government is now trying to push for changing the criteria in its attempt to displace and deprive Kuki-Zo tribals of their rights and their land”.

However, it said, “removing a community from the ST list is no small task”.

Biren Singh’s government risks further conflict by weaponizing the state machinery against Kuki-Zos,” the ITLF said.

It added: “This will only harm Manipur and its people.”

Manipur government has formed a committee, consisting of all recognized tribes in the state, for a recommendation, which is a prerequisite to process inclusion or removal of a tribe from the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list of India.

The recommendation was necessitated when the Manipur government was asked by the Centre to examine a representation seeking the deletion of the “Nomadic Chin-Kuki” from the list of Scheduled Tribes (ST) in Manipur.

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh, on Tuesday (January 09), said that they (Nomadic Chin-Kuki) were included in the ST list of India, but how it was included (in the list) have to be re-examined before giving any comment/recommendation to this effect.

“We have formed a committee consisting of all recognized tribes in the state then only we would be able to send the recommendation to the Centre,” the Manipur CM said in reply to a question posed by a reporter.

In Manipur, there are 34 government-recognized tribes.

The union tribal affairs ministry has taken the measures in reply to a representation seeking to delist the “nomadic Chin-Kuki” from the ST list that was made by Maheshwar Thounaojam, national secretary of the Republican Party of India (Athawale), who is based in Imphal.

In a letter dated December 26, 2023, sent to the union government, Thounaojam claimed that the addition of a few entries in Manipur’s ST list over the years — such as “Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes”, “Zou”, and “Any Kuki tribes” — is objectionable.

Since then the union government in an office memorandum to Manipur said the process of inclusion or exclusion from the ST list requires the proposal to originate from the concerned state government.

Hence, it was sending the representation to the Manipur government for its recommendation.

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