Khasis-Jaintias living in Assam meets Conrad seeking development council

Khasi and Jaiñtia communities living in Cachar district of Assam file photo

Shillong, Dec 2: The indigenous Khasi and Jaiñtia communities living in Cachar district of Assam has sought the intervention Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma for creation of a Khasi-Jaintia Development Council in Assam.

In a memorandum submitted to Sangma on Wednesday, the Khasi-Jaintia Development Council Demand Committee urged him to take initiatives for creation of the Council in the greater interest of the “vulnerable indigenous Khasi-Jaintia tribes” living in Assam, especially in the Barak valley region, where its population is more than 1.70 lakh with more than 375 villages “in most interior part of the region far away from the main stream” and concentrated in all the three districts of Barak Valley to almost all the 15 constituencies.

The Committee claimed that the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs (C&LM-I Division) had on December 15, 2014 directed the then Commissioner & Secretary Department of Welfare Plain Tribes and Backward Classes (WPT&BC), Government of Assam to take “appropriate action for creation of the ‘Khasi-Jaintia Development Council’.

“But the then State government has turned their deaf ears to our longstanding legitimate demands in addressing and promoting our socio-economic, education, ethnic and cultural grievances to provide maximum participation in advancement within the framework of the Constitution of India,” the memorandum stated.

“Despite having all historical primitive trades’ characteristic and traditional customary practices that existed since the 18th century till date, our tribe/community is still being neglected, deprived, for which our existence was indeed very deplorable, pitiable and at sub-standard conditions, lagging behind in many basic amenities of livelihood, where developmental schemes and cultural uplift hardly or rarely are being benefited by our tribe/community,” the Khasi-Jaintia Development Council Demand Committee said.

Urging the Meghalaya Chief Minister to take up the matter with his Assam counterpart, the Council said, the plight of the two communities would be addressed through creation of the council.