Nongthymmai MDC opposes demand to include Tiwa tribe

Shillong, Aug 12: KHADC member from Nongthymmai, Latiplang Kharkongor on Monday opposed the demand to recognize and include the Lalung or Tiwa tribe in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list of Meghalaya.

Last week, 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 had demanded from the state government to recognize the tribe and sought the intervention of Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma.

“I totally oppose this demand to include other tribes which are not indigenous to our state,” Kharkongor told reporters here on Monday.

Slamming the NPP MLA for raising this issue, the Nongthymmai MDC said, “If we start demanding just for the sake of vote bank (politics), what will happen to the future of the state.”

He also said that the demand has also come at a time when traditional heads under the banner of the Synjuk Ki Nongsynshar Shnong, Nongthymmai has been demanding the need to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribe) Order, 1950 for deletion of other tribes (around 50 of them) from ST list of Meghalaya.

Stating that the ST list of Meghalaya in fact was a copy paste list from the composite State of Assam, which includes in it the different tribes, Kharkongor said other states in the North East region like Nagaland, Mizoram and Sikkim have already amended their respective ST lists.

“If they (other states) have done it, then it is also high time that the state government of Meghalaya should relook into the matter and take necessary measures,” he said while adding that Khasi-Pnar people residing in other states in the NE including Assam are not given ST status.

Referring to a circular issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on May 2, 1975 to all the states and union territories on the need to amend the ST list, the MDC said the circular had also stated that a person migrates from one state to another, he can claim to belong to a SC or ST only in relation to the state to which he originaly belonged and not in respect of the state to which he has migrated.

Meanwhile, Kharkongor said that he along with the Synjuk would soon meet the state government again on the matter to ensure that the ST list of the state is amended.