Shillong, Aug 21: National People’s Party (NPP) legislator from Mawhati, Dasakhiat Lamare categorically denied that the representation submitted to the state government to recognize the Lalung (Tiwa) tribe as ‘sub-tribe’ of Meghalaya was not for vote bank politics or to affect the reservation meant for the major tribes of the state.
Lamare has been criticized for taking a delegation of the Lalung community to the Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma to request the state government to provide Schedule Tribe certificate to the Lalung tribe who are residing in areas under his Mawhati constituency.
Nongthymmai MDC, Latiplang Kharkongor had recently opposed the demand to recognize and include the Lalung or Tiwa tribe in the scheduled tribe (ST) list of Meghalaya and alleged that the move was merely for vote bank and such move was to disrespect the reservation of the major tribes in the state.
Lamare however told reporters on Wednesday that the request to recognize the Lalung tribe as ‘sub tribe’ and provide them Scheduled Tribe certificate was on the ground that the Lalung tribe has been part of the state.
“I have not met the Chief Minister to demand but to request the government to examine the matter whether it is possible or not,” Lamare said.
On the opposition and allegation made by the KHADC member from Nongthymmai, the Mawhati MLA said, “I respect Kharkongor’s opinion but I want to make it clear that I have no bad intentions while taking up this issue. As an elected representative of the constituency, I feel it is my duty to take up the aspiration of the people with the state government.”
Lamare said that the Lalung tribe known as Tiwa tribe in Assam, had been living in his Mawhati constituency even before Meghalaya got its statehood in 1972.
“This particular tribe is also recognized as subjects of the Hima Khyrim,” Lamare said.
He clarified that Lalung tribe has a population of around 4,000 and not 8,000 as mentioned earlier through media reports.
The NPP legislator also said that his request to the state government to examine the aspiration of the Lalung tribe was based on the decision of the past government that also recognized other tribes like Mikir, Rabha, Koch, Hajong as ‘sub tribes’ though they are not indigenous tribe of the state.
“These communities have also been recognized as sub-tribes in the ST list of Meghalaya,” the Mawhati MLA said.
Lamare made it clear his request to the state government to examine the matter was not aimed at affecting the reservation of the Khasi, Jaiñtia and Garo people.
“The Lalung tribe if recognized as sub-tribe, should not affect the 40 per cent reservation for the Khasi and Jaiñtia tribes, and 40 per cent for the Garo tribe,” he said.