Manipur, May 28: Manipur MP Lorho S Pfoze has written a letter to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman appealing for the removal of mandatory Manipuri language in the State Bank of India (SBI) recruitment notification in the state.

While drawing the attention of the Union minister to the discrepancies felt amongst the tribal people in Manipur, Dr Phoze stated that “the education system in the state is liberal with options to learn mother language (local dialects) and Manipuri (Meiteilon) being not mandatory. Therefore, making Manipuri a mandatory language for SBI recruitment is not justifiable.”

It is a fact that Manipur has a diverse culture, tradition and ethnicity. Echoing the same, Pfoze reiterated that the state is inhabited by various ethnic groups with diverse cultural and linguistic practices.

He further urged the Union minister to give necessary directive and broaden the recruitment to provide opportunities for all the ethnic groups within the state and give the language option in English and Manipuri. It can be any other recognized scheduled language, he added.

Earlier, the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) had raised the issue in front of SBI chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara. It requested him to include recognized scheduled tribes’ languages of Manipur in the ongoing recruitment of junior associates (customer support and sales) and other future recruitment of SBI in the case of Manipur.

The students’ body stated that most of the scheduled tribes in the state are not proficient with the Meitei (Meiteilon) language and most of the Meiteis are not well-versed in the scheduled tribe languages.

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Inclusion of only Meitei/Manipuri language in the test of the local language in the ongoing recruitment SBI process in Manipur systematically discriminates a substantial number of potential candidates belonging to scheduled tribe communities,” said the body.

According to ATSUM, there are 34 scheduled tribes recognized under the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) orders, 1950 (Part III – Rules and orders under the Constitution) Part X-Manipur. The STs constitute 34.2% of the total population of the state, as per the 2001 census, it added.