Opposition to exclusion of other tribes

SHILLONG: There is opposition to the move of the government to write to the Centre to amend the ST list following the demand from Congress legislators to exclude unrepresented tribes from district councils.
Former ANVC-B leader Bernard Marak said on Saturday that GHADC should not have any problem to accommodate the unrepresented tribes as they have been living with the main tribes amicably for years.
He pointed out that the government should have invited former ANVC and ANVC-B leaders for discussion regarding the matter.
“Nomination of other unrepresented tribes who are under ST should not go against the mandate of the Sixth Schedule. Congress leaders are trying to create confusion by objecting to the participation of the unrepresented tribes when the truth is that they were well aware of the proposed amendment”, Marak said.
The draft amendment of the Sixth Schedule mentions about the inclusion of unrepresented tribes in the district councils.
However, this was opposed by Congress MLAs Ampareen Lyngdoh
) and George Lyngdoh during the just-concluded Assembly session.
On Friday, NPP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said the government will write to the Centre to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, to include only tribes that are indigenous to Meghalaya.
However, the former rebel leader said the Congress leaders intentionally delayed the amendment by not replying to the Centre’s queries when they were in power.
“They (Congress) are raising these issues now to create communal rift and confuse the public. Other Scheduled Tribes (Hajongs, Koches and others) who are unrepresented should not be barred from participating through a different platform other than which is reserved for Garo, Khasi and Jaintia”, Marak said. 
The United Hajong Development Organisation from Garo Hills has already expressed concern over the move to remove unrepresented tribes.
According to Marak, the decision is under the discretion of the ruling party. “Things have changed because the elected representatives recognised other smaller tribes as the Scheduled Tribes in the past. It cannot be changed now”, Marak said.
He also wanted to know on what ground can STs be barred from participating when the Constitution has no specific definition.
“Opposing it openly in the Assembly is the face the Congress is showing to the public but it was known to them right from the beginning. The amendment is being tabled by BJP government because Congress intentionally delayed the settlement process and never took any initiative to speed up the amendment and we are the witness to the foul play of the Congress government”, Marak said
He added that the Congress should go through all the representations which the erstwhile ANVC-B sent to them when they were in power. “Therefore, the state and the Centre should not acknowledge their drama because it is an attempt to create confusion”, Marak added.

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