Recognise only indigenous tribes as ST : KHADC

Shillong, Dec 21
The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) on Wednesday passed an official resolution urging the Centre to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 for recognizing only the indigenous tribes as Scheduled Tribes (ST) in Meghalaya.
Tabling the resolution, KHADC chief Pyniaid Sing Syiem said, “Whereas, Part XI of the Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order, 1950, as amended has provided a list of the Scheduled Tribes pertaining to Meghalaya which are deemed to be resident in the localities in relation to the State to which this part relates; And whereas, considering the increase of the demographic status of the indigenous tribes of Meghalaya during the last few years it has become expedient to revisit and re-examine the list provided in Part XI of the Constitution Order, 1950 in so far as Meghalaya is concerned.
“Now therefore, this House does hereby resolve to urge upon the Government of India through the State government to take urgent steps to bring an amendment to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 by recognizing only the Indigenous Tribe as the Schedule Tribes in Meghalaya,” he said.
Pyniaid also sought the support of the House and assured to immediately write to the State Government to take up the matter with the Centre to ensure only indigenous tribes of the State are included in the ST list.
Supporting the resolution, the Leader of Opposition Titosstarwell Chyne said that in fact he had also submitted a private member’s resolution on the same issue (on December 4). “I thanked the EC for realising the importance of this resolution and tabling it today (for discussion and necessary consideration of the House),” he added.
Chyne said the resolution is very important as it is a wake up call for everybody to protect the land and the people.
According to him, the objective of the resolution proposed by him was to point out the fact that there are many tribes (as per the ST list), who are getting the same privileges enjoyed by the indigenous people of the state. “My concern is that these tribes can also buy land
but whereas we cannot buy land in their respective States,” he said while alleging that Mizo people are allowed to buy land in Madanrting.
“We have talked so much about the issue of influx but we forgot to speak about this issue relating to the exploitation by people belonging to other tribes. Look at what happened in Manipur between the Meiteis and Kukis. Do we also want the same situation in Meghalaya?” Chyne asked.
Independent MDC from Nongthymmai Latiplang Kharkongor informed that a conglomeration of traditional heads (under the banner of the Synjuk Ki Nongsynshar Shnong Ka Nongthymmai Pyllun) had already submitted a memorandum (in 2019) to the State Government on the need to immediately amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribe) Order 1950.
Quoting the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in recent years, he said the apex Court had clearly stated that a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe in one State cannot be deemed to be SC/ST in another State where he migrated for the purpose of employment or education.
“Therefore, it now depends on the State Government to come up with a notification in this regard,” Kharkongor said while citing that States like Sikkim, Mizoram, Nagaland have already issued notifications to ensure only the tribes indigenous to the State are entitled to the benefits in their respective States.
Deputy CEM Pynshngain N Syiem said that the biggest mistake committed when Meghalaya got its statehood was the adoption of Assam rules and acts adding “We should urge the State Government to pursue with the Centre to amend the presidential order of 1950.”
He also asserted the need to revisit the Land Transfer Act to ensure not all 66 tribes in the ST list can buy land in Meghalaya.
In his reply, CEM assured that his executive committee will take up the matter seriously and said, “I urge the members of the House to support the official resolution.”
He however said he cannot divulge much on the details as to how the council will move forward to address the issue.
Pyniaid said that in fact during the five months journey of his EC, they have visited the border areas including Block – II area and discussed the need to prevent land encroachment by anyone. He also asked how many times the LO had visited the border areas during his three and a half years as CEM of the council.
Meanwhile, the deputy chairman Charles Marngar announced that the official resolution has been passed by the House after the majority had raised their hand in its support.  Hubnews