As ethnic clashes continue between the Meiteis and the Kuki-Zomi people in Manipur, the State government is yet to take a position on whether Meiteis should be recommended for Scheduled Tribe status, according to submissions made on Tuesday before a Division Bench of the Manipur High Court at Imphal.
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The Division Bench of Justices Ahanthem Bimol Singh and A. Guneshwar Sharma on Tuesday heard the appeal against a March 27 single-judge Bench order of the High Court, which directed the State government to recommend Meiteis for inclusion on the ST list.
The Kuki-Zomi people and the Naga people in the State started protesting against this order as soon as it was made public on April 19. After one such protest on May 3, the violence began in the State leaving more than 100 people dead, hundreds more injured and tens of thousands internally displaced.
The appeal being heard before the Division Bench has been filed by the All Manipur Tribal Union against the March 27 order.
The Union Tribal Affairs Ministry, represented through a Deputy Solicitor General of India, informed the court on Tuesday that it would not be filing any objection against the appeal.
However, advocates representing the State government submitted that they needed more time before filing anything in court. The advocates submitted that they needed to take instructions from the State government on whether it wants to file an objection to the appeal.
It has been more than a month since the appeal was filed.
Meanwhile, members of the Meitei Tribes Union, also arraigned as respondents, sought a week’s time to file their objections to the appeal.
The MTU was the organisation that first approached the Manipur High Court, seeking a direction for their recommendation for inclusion on the ST list.
“We will be filing our objection to the appeal by next Monday,” advocate Ajoy Pebam, who is representing members of the MTU, told The Hindu.
Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves and his team appeared for the All Manipur Tribals Union in the matter.
The High Court has listed the matter for the next hearing on June 15.