Shillong June 28: An Advisory Committee of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) on legislation and legal matters will discuss with academicians on the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement (IOA&AA) and pursue with the Centre to implement the agreement in letter and spirit.
The Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement was signed between the dominion of India and the 25 Khasi states during 1947-48.
The Advisory Committee is headed by KHADC chairman, Pynshngaiñlang N. Syiem, while John F. Kharshiing, who has been pursuing this issue for many year , is the member of the committee, along with lawyer, Erwin Syiem Sutnga.
The Khasi states or Khasi kingdoms signed the agreement with the dominion of India between December 15, 1947 and March 19, 1948 and the conditional treaty with the Khasi states was signed by the then Governor General, Chakravarty Rajagopalachari on August 17, 1948.
On Friday the Advisory Committee held a meeting with representatives of the Federation of Khasi States at the Khasi National Dorbar, here and discussed about the agreement.
Many suggestions emerged during the meeting on how to move forward.
Syiem said that the agreement signed by the Khasi states with the Union of India is relevant for scheduled areas that required special provisions in as far as matters related to legislation brought in by the Centre and the need to clearly define the existing traditional institutions such as Dorbar Shnong and others.
Syiem this matter would be collectively pursued with the Centre to correct the “Constitutional anomaly” in as far as the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement is concerned.
When asked why this “constitutional anomaly” was not corrected till date, and how the Centre would honour this agreement now especially when it wants to even abrogate Article 370, which gives special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, Syiem said, “for Jammu and Kashmir, it is about Article 35A. We are fighting for provisions in the agreement which should be incorporated in the Sixth Schedule or in the form of an Article of the Constitution. There are Central laws that are contrary to the agreement, be it laws on land and forest, minerals and customary and social rights like the Indian Forest Act, Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, and the Citizenship Act.”
Syiem said, “for many years, leaders have been fighting this issue with ‘good intentions’ but perhaps, the problems confronting us then, were not realized much as it is now, and we need to safeguard our rights as envisaged in the agreement.”
Member of the committee, John F. Kharshiing said that the Khasi states retained the identity within the provision of the Indian Constitution when the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement was officially accepted by the Union of India on August 17, 1948.
The Advisory Committee will discuss with academicians and enlighten the people including students by holding interactions in colleges and other places on the IOA&AA along with the Himas so that this agreement enter into people’s mind and realize its significance .
The Committee also thanked the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for entering Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement into its syllabus.