Meghalaya NGOs to submit petition to Centre on Sixth Schedule amendment

Shillong, May 19: Various NGOs in Meghalaya have decided to send a petition to the Central government with a demand to delete certain sections from a draft bill related to amendment of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
At least 15 organisations from Khasi, Jaintia and Garo hills, came together under the umbrella of Meghalaya Indigenous Tribal Constitutional Rights Movement to voice out their concern in this regard.

The representatives who held a meeting at the Khasi Students’ Union discussed the draft bill and decided to draft a petition to be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other MPs from Meghalaya and other states of the Northeast.
The NGOs said that in the draft bill proposed to amend the Sixth Schedule, there were some sections that would affect the tribal people especially a section which talked about the need for each Autonomous District Council to establish village councils for villages in rural areas and municipal councils for urban areas or an agglomeration of such urban areas.
The NGOs said that they would not accept such section since village council does not exist in Meghalaya. In Khasi and Jaintia hills, there is a Dorbar Shnongs, headed by a Rangbah Shnong or headman and in Garo hills, village administration is looked after by a Nokma or headman.
The NGOs also opposed the section in the draft bill which stated that preparation of electoral rolls and conduct of elections to the district councils, village councils and municipal councils shall be vested with the State Election Commission.
The NGOs have formed a committee for drafting a petition to be submitted to the Centre at the earliest along with certain suggestions that should be incorporated in the draft Bill before the amendment bill is taken to Parliament.
They said that the Centre should have consulted the stakeholders before coming up with the draft Bill and demanded that separate chapters in the Sixth Schedule should be included so that each state that have the District Councils can deal with the issues specifically pertaining to each state.

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