SILCHAR: Manipuri Youth Front of Assam (MYFA) has strongly pleaded for the inclusion of their mother language as the associate official language of the state under Article 347 of Indian Constitution. The logic and justification behind their demand is based on historical and constitutional background. Manipuris have been living in Assam since 15th century. In order to safeguard the indigenous Manipuri people of Assam, a memorandum was submitted to Justice B K Sarma, Chairman of the Committee on implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord 1985 to substantiate they are the original inhabitants of the state.
Advancing further arguments, MYFA said since 1956, Manipuri language has been continued to be taught at the lower primary schools and also in M E schools since 1963. Besides, since 1979, Manipuri is being taught at the HSLC stage and beyond. Manipuri language departments exist in Assam University as well as Gauhati University to meet the linguistic aspirations of the students to have higher education in their mother tongue as lingua franca. It is also significant that Manipuri was included in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
But, the Front was sorely disappointed by the recent announcement of Himanta Biswa Sarma, Education Minister of Assam, making Assamese mandatory for all linguistic groups to become eligible for jobs in the state. The Front is also aggrieved at the recent advertisements for APSC and Assam Secretariat vacancies where Assamese, Bodo and Bengali have been made compulsory at the HSLC stage. This means Bodo for the Bodoland, Bengali for Barak Valley and Assamese for the entire state of Assam. Manipuris in general feel this kind of circular is discriminatory and an exercise to deprive them of their legitimate right.
Against this background, Seram Herajit Singh, president, and Okram Lakhi Kanta Singh, general secretary, MYFA, at a meet with media persons on Wednesday, at Silchar Press Club, have demanded inclusion of Manipuri language as the associate official language under the Article 347 of the Indian Constitution. They hope the Centre and the State would do justice to the 5 lakh Manipuris settled in Assam.