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‘Amendment should not disturb Khasi Lineage Act’

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SHILLONG, May 12: Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) Opposition Leader Titosstarwell Chyne on Sunday said the spirit of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) Act, 1997 cannot be diluted even if there is a general observation that the Act needs to be amended.
“Any amendment should not disturb the spirit of the Act as it is rooted in the matrilineal system of lineage of the Khasis,” Chyne said.
He asked why no one pointed out there are deficiencies in the Act all these years after it was passed in 1997.
He said KHADC Chief Executive Member (CEM) Pyniaid Sing Syiem has convened a meeting on Monday to discuss the matter. The council has invited the Rangbah Kur of different clan, the Syiem of different Himas and members of the Synjuk Ki Nongsynshar Shnong Ka Bri Hynniewtrep to attend the meeting and share their views and opinions on the Act.
Chyne said if any groups or individuals feel the Act should be amended, they should submit an official representation to the council.
“We will need to deliberate on the matter since it is a normal practice in a democratic setup,” he said, adding that the council is only a custodian of the customary practices and traditions and its role is to codify them.
“We cannot change our customary practices as per our convenience,” he further said.
Earlier, Syiem had stated that the council decided to convene the meeting as various observations are being made from different quarters about the Act.
He said all 30 MDCs of the KHADC are concerned because the primary objective of the Act cannot be diluted as it is rooted in the matrilineal  system of lineage of the Khasis.
Syiem said they will also discuss the Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) (Amendment) Bill, 2023 which was passed by the council.
The main thrust of the amendment bill is to make it mandatory for the Dorbar Kur or Seng Kur to register themselves with the council and include the “Ring Bia or Shaw Bhoi”.
Meanwhile, sources revealed the KHADC will hold a meeting with the officials of the District Council Affairs department on May 15 to discuss the amendment bill.
The council will push to ensure that the amendment bill is sent to the Governor for his assent so that it becomes an Act.

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