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GH groups give reasons for opposing Rakesh as CEM

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TURA, Feb 7: Agitating groups from Garo Hills who are opposing the appointment of MDC Rakesh Newar Sangma as the CEM of the GHADC on Monday justified their stand on the issue and gave a number of reasons why the MDC cannot be accepted as the Chief of the GHADC.

The groups comprising the GSU, FKJGP, ADE, FAF, AYWO and NESO in a statement pointed out that Rakesh and his siblings in their school life always identified themselves as ‘Newar’ and not ‘A Sangma’ which was later changed to Newar Sangma in college. They added that it was only prior to the GHADC elections that he filed an affidavit and started identifying himself as Rakesh A Sangma.

“We suspect that it was politically conducive for him to identify himself as a bona-fide Garo to contest the election as the seat (7 Babelapara Constituency) from which he contested was a tribal majority electorate and people may not have taken very kindly to a non-tribal candidate,” they stated.

The groups added that though Rakesh’s mother belongs to the Agitok clan, none of his family members has ever practiced the matrilineal culture of the Garo society.

. “As per the Garo matrilineal culture, a person after marriage has to leave their parents house to live with their wives and prioritize his wife’s clan over his own, however, Both Rakesh Newar Sangma and his brother has made their wives leave their parents’ house and live with his parents. This is not the only unusual thing about their family, it is an open secret that Mr. Rakesh Newar Sangma and his family members have never lived as per the Garo Culture and does not understand nor practiced the Garo Cultrure their whole life. Neither, do their family’s rites and rituals nor religious beliefs align with that of the Garo Society. They have always practiced their father’s culture, tradition and religious beliefs who, belongs to the Newar clan of the Nepali Community. We are pointing out these facts not to malign him or his family members however, these facts are important to be mentioned to understand our opposition to him being appointed as the CEM of GHADC,” the groups said.

“Our greatest objection of Rakesh A. Sangma being elected as the CEM of the GHADC is because the CEM of GHADC exercises Judicial Power of the highest Authority in the GHADC on all traditional Civil Cases. The civil cases involve sensitive issues in regards to our traditional institutions and land. Nokmas who are the guardian of our A.kings (land owned by a clan) is appointed by the CEM of the GHADC, any dispute between 2 (two) A.kings will be judged by the CEM, any dispute within a clan and an A.king over the right of ownership of Nokmas will be judged by the CEM, designation of New A.kings for any Clan will be ordered by the CEM and the list goes on. These mentioned Judicial Powers of the CEM is of great significance for the preservation of the Identity of the Garos and preservation of the Culture of the Garo Society as A.kings and Nokmas are pivotal in the determination of the Garo Identity and how can a person who never lived his life following the Garo Culture and Tradition give his verdict on such sensitive issues?” they further added.

The combined groups made an appeal to all political leaders of the state in general and the politicians of Garo Hills in particular to take note of their concerns and overturn the decision to appoint Rakesh A. Sangma from the post of the CEM of GHADC. A separate appeal was also made to MDC Rakesh A. Sangma himself to resign from the post owing moral responsibility.

The groups, while reminding of the night road blockade being called all over Garo Hills from February 8 to 11, warned that until and unless Rakesh A. Sangma is removed from his post or he voluntarily steps down from the CEMs post, the Civil Disobedience movement would continue and more stringent steps would follow under different phases.

“The only reason we put on hold our NCM is owing to the Examination Schedules of different Boards and Universities, and we appeal the people of Garo Hills to be ready for further NCMs and other demonstrations whenever there is a break in the exam dates. We also appeal to all institutions that we will only bar the Board and University exams and any internal exams if coincides with our demonstrations be postponed for another date/dates in the interest of the Garo Cause,” they added.

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