Shillong, Nov 9: Congress MLA from Mawlai, Process T Sawkmie on Monday said that there is a general apprehension among the indigenous of the State that if Article 370 can be abrogated from Jammu and Kashmir Article 244 can easily be revoked from Meghalaya.
Article 244 (2) of the Constitution of India states – the provisions of the Sixth Schedule shall apply to the administration of the tribal areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
“If such a situation comes we will lose our ST status and there will be no more Land Transfer Act,” Sawkmie said while initiating a Zero Hour discussion on a news report of protests by certain groups outside the Meghalaya House in Kolkata recently.
The Congress legislator also said that the people of Meghalaya want to send a clear message to Delhi that the people of the State believes in the Constitution and would like India to prosper.
Sawkmie also said that those protesting in front of the Meghalaya House Kolkata were organised by some persons with vested interest.
He also said that the three individuals who met the Governor Satya Pal Malik alleging discrimination against the non-tribals in Ichamati area of East Khasi Hills seem to have a hidden agenda.
In his reply Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma said that the demonstrators shouted slogans and displayed banners condemning the alleged atrocities against the minority communities in Meghalaya and also regarding the alleged discrimination against the non-indigenous community in Ichamati and Bholaganj area.
He said that the West Bengal police who were present at the spot, did not allow them to enter into the premises.
According to Sangma the current imbroglio in the media and social media is primarily due to the incident the occurred in Ichamati on February 28 this year.
Sangma said that a clash took place between Khasí Students Union (KSU) members and non-tribals at Ichamati in which some KSU activists from Sohra.
Shella and other adjoining areas sustained injuries and one KSU activist namely (L) Lurshai Hynniewta (35) a resident of Khliehshnong, Sohra succumbed to his injuries.
The Chief Minister informed that in this connection 24 persons were arrested and the case has since been charge-sheeted against 70 persons.
He told the House that the Ichamati incident had law and order repurcussions in Shillong as tensions escalated resulting in the stabbing incident in lewduh in which one member of the non-tribal community lost his life.
In this case two persons were arrested and the case has been charge-sheeted.
“With the timely intervention of the district administration and the police department, the situation was controlled to a large extent and normalcy in lchamati, Shillong and adjoining areas were restored,” he said.
Chief Minister said that in the aftermath of these tragic incidents, several memoranda by different organisations addressed to the Prime Minister of India, the Governor of Meghalaya and Chief Minister of Meghalaya highlighting the alleged harassment faced by the Bengali community in Ichamati and Bholaganj area and other places of Meghalaya were submitted.
Sangma also informed that an enquiry was also initiated based on the direction of the National Commission tor Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) New Delhi as the Commission had taken cognizance of the allegation of institutionalised harassment of Women & Children in Ichamati and adjourning areas of East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya.
He informed that the Deputy Commissioner East Khasi Hills ordered the District Child Protection Committee to hold the enquiry and joint inspection was conducted by taking into confidence the residents of the area, and ample opportunities were accorded to the residents to shed light on the allegations of discrimination/harassment, and on completion of the enquiry, the report was sent to the NCPCR New Delhi.
Sangma said that the brief summary of the findings of the report are – that there are no cases of harassment faced by the residents of lchamati, particularly women and children