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Declare Manipuris as indigenous community of Assam,MSTDC to Government

SILCHAR, Aug 29: Manipuri Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (MSTDC) of Assam with its headquarters here in a memorandum addressed to the Prateek Hajela, state coordinator of NRC Assam, sent through the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar today has demanded indigenous community status for the Manipuris. The ground for demand has been supported with facts and figures. According to the Demand Committee, plain people of Manipur, the Meitei or Meetei or Manipuris, are a branch of great Tai race.
These Manipuris came down from China through the upper valley of Huang He and Yuan Sikiang rivers of China and reached Yunan. From the south western province of China, they proceeded down to the Irrawaddy river of Myanmar. Thereafter, they crossed the Chindwin Valley and reached Imphal Valley. W Sarat Chandra Singha, president of the MSTDC, quoted T.C. Hudson who said the valley of Manipur was originally occupied by several tribes, the principal of which were named Koomul, Looang, Moirang and Meithai. All of them came from different directions which conclusively proved that the first settlers in the valley of Manipur were Meiteis or Manipuris.
W Sarat Chandra Singha from the records stated in 1711, Ratna Kandala and Arundas Kataki, the two envoys of Ahom King, Rudra Singh, were sent to Tripura Raja. On their way to Tripura, they came across Manipuris selling their products at Ruangarang in Cachar. He referred to Tripura Burunji edited by S K Bhuyal where the event is recorded.
Further to substantiate the ground for ST status, Dr. M Santi Kumar Singha, general secretary of the MSTDC, pointed out there is historical evidence that the Manipuris started living in Assam since 1768. In the book ‘A History of Assam’ written by Sri Edward Gait, it is mentioned that the King of Manipur Jai Singh gave his daughter to Ahom King Rajeswar Singh in marriage. And the number of Manipuris who accompanied her were settled near the mouth of the Desoi at Magaluhat or Manipuri market.
Dr. M Santi Kumar Singha said Manipuris are found to be the second largest inhabitants in Cachar who counted 10723 as mentioned Cachar Record of 1851 which has been further quoted by noted historian J B Bhattacharjee in his book ‘Cachar under the British Rule in North East India’. The Statistical Accounts of Assam written by W W Hunter in 1872, it has further been mentioned that the Manipuris were found to settle in Cachar. Moreover, Manipuris were enlisted as aborigin tribes in Goalpara, Sivasagar and Kamrup districts of Assam. This account was given by Hunter while describing ethnical division of the people.
Both Sarat Chandra Singha and Dr. M Santi Kumar Singha in the memoranda signed by them have stressed that Manipuris are now found to be settled in almost all the districts of Assam, retaining their original costume, culture and tradition in their original form without any distortion. In fact, they have been maintaining their distinct cultural identity. On the basis of these facts, arguments and logic, MSTDC has pressed for declaration of Manipuris of Assam as indigenous people in order to enable all the settlers of the state get their undisputed pride of citizenship and enroll their names in the NRC update process. Manipuris, the Demand Committee has at the same time, impressed upon Prateek Hajela for inclusion of the names of Manipuris without any documents or testimonies of their citizenship as is being done in case of other indigenous communities. (Source:SentinelAssam)

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