CM assures to examine Lalung tribe demand

Shillong, Aug 8: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has assured that the state government would examine the proposal seeking inclusion of the “Lalung” or “Tiwa” tribe in the scheduled tribe (ST) list of Meghalaya.

The assurance was given to a delegation of Tiwa (Lalung) Mathonlai Tokhra Meghalaya State Committee and All Tiwa Students’ Union led by National People’s Party (NPP) legislator from Mawhati, Dasakhiat Lamare on Thursday.

After the meeting, Lamare, who is also the Chairman of the State Development Reforms Commission (SDRC), told reporters that the demand for recognition of the Lalung (Tiwa) people as ST has been pending for the past 19 years since 2001.

“On seeking his intervention into the matter, the chief minister has assured the delegation that the government would examine the proposal,” he said.

He said that the Tiwa people has been recognized by the Syiem of Hima Khyrim as they have been residing in the Khasi Hills region even before Meghalaya get its statehood in 1972.

“In fact, leaders of the Tiwa tribe were also part of the Hill State movement,” Lamare said while informing that the population of the Tiwa people residing only in his Mawhati constituency is around 8,000 plus.

The Tiwa people mostly reside in the border areas falling under Block I and II along the inter-state boundary with Assam.

In a joint memorandum submitted to the MLA, ATSU and TMT said that the Lalung (Tiwa) tribe has been left out from the Scheduled Tribe order list of Meghalaya despite being the indigenous citizens of the Hima Shillong.

They however said that the Bodo, Rabhas, Hajong and Chakmas were included and recognized as Scheduled Tribes in the ST list of the state, though they are not aboriginal tribe of Meghalaya as it is learned from their historical background.

The ATSU and TMT informed that after the bifurcation of Hima Shillong, the Tiwa people fall under the traditional administrative of Hima Khyrim and they are the rightful subjects of the Hima Khyrim Syiemship.

The Lalung (Tiwa) people from aged old days dwelled in the Ri Bhoi district known as “Shari Krai” (Saw Raid) but now known as “Phas Krai” (San Raid) or five provinces Maïong, Makdoh, Lumphui, Amjong and Sakra Raid of Khyrim Syiemship, they said.

They pointed out that Chakma people are not recognized in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes order list of the Indian Constitution but regarded as refugees in India, whereas in Meghalaya, they are included and recognized in the ST list.

“Therefore, we reiterate our demand to include the Lalung (Tiwa) people living in Meghalaya as scheduled tribe with its own distinct identity,” they stated in the memorandum.

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