Federation of Khasi States wants inclusion of IOA into Article 370 to protect rights of indigenous people

SHILLONG, Feb 8: The Federation of Khasi States on Friday has urged the Meghalaya government to move a resolution in the Assembly demanding from the Centre fulfillment of the treaty terms of the Instrument of Accession (IOA) of August 17, 1948 by including the IOA into Article 370 of the Constitution of India as a measure to protect rights of Khasi States and the Jaintia and Garo people of Meghalaya.

Spokesperson of the FKS, John F Kharshiing pointed out that Clause 5 of the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement is another form of Inner Line Permit (ILP), which is very important in the present context of debate on protection of the indigenous people of the state which the Syiems (Khasi Chiefs) had agreed upon on joining and acceding to the Indian Dominion without signing the merger agreement.

Clause 5 of the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement, states “In matters of legislation concerning subjects of common interest passed by the Assam legislature there should be some machinery either by representation in that legislature or otherwise set up whereby the legislation, where necessary, can be adopted or modified to suit the conditions and circumstances existing in the Khasi Hills.

Kharshiiing said that the Federation of Khasi States supports the implementation of ILP as this matter is part of the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement.

He pointed out that ILP is part of the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement and even reflects in the Maharam Syiemship (Administration) Rules, 2009 assented to by the Governor.

Section 9 sub-section (2) of the Rules states that, no land situated within the Syiemship shall be transferred by way of sale or lease to non-tribals without the knowledge and approval of the Syiem and Dorbar.

This Rule of Hima Maharam also states under Section 10 sub-section (6), non-tribals are not allowed to permanently settle within any area under the territorial jurisdiction of Maharam Syiemship without valid documents issued by the Syiem and Dorbar.

Kharshiing also stated that The Administration of Nongstoin Syiemship, Rules 2006 also has ILP provisions.

Section 8 sub-clause (iii) of the Rules states, “A Dkhar (non-tribal) shall have no right to settle or cultivate in any part or village within the Syiemship.

Urging the state government to give accent to the ILP Bill passed by the Khasi Hill Autonomous District Council, last year, the Federation of Khasi States, spokesperson said, “The ILP Bill should be given assent within the jurisdiction of the Khasi states and Elakas of Jaintia Hills on the basis of clause 5 of the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement, agreed and signed by the government of India on August 17, 1948, as similar legislation of ILP has partially been extended in Hima Maharam Rule 2009 and Hima Nongstoin Rule 2006.

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