From a Correspondent
SHILLONG, Aug 3: While former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma is contemplating the formation of a pan-India “tribal centric” political party to assert the political aspirations of the tribals in the country, the chairman of the Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya, John Kharshiing, is considering the creation of a non-political platform to assess the issues and challenges faced by the Scheduled Tribes of India.
Kharshiing was speaking at the one day discussion, awareness, and interaction session on the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement – August 17, 1948, held here on Friday.
“The one day interaction was to prepare ourselves to make effective joint representation to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, which is likely to set up a Third Commission under Article 339 of the Constitution of India to look into the welfare of the tribals of the country,” Kharshiing said.
The meeting focused on the welfare and challenges relating to the recent Constitutional Reference of April 26 from National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, on the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement, and the memorandum from the Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya (comprising Federation of 25 Khasi States, Council of Dolloi, Sirdarships and Council of Nokmas) seeking constitutional provisions for recognition of the party less political traditional tribal governing institutions.
He also stated that talks for setting up a non-political and party less Constitutional National Council for Scheduled Tribes of India has already got green signal from with tribal chiefs, clan chiefs and village chiefs of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur and efforts are on to communicate with the other tribes of other States of India.
Recently, Kharshiing met Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Rameshwar Oraon, to enquire into the status of the memorandum submitted by the Grand Council of Chiefs on March 10, 2010 regarding the rights of the Khasi states.
During the meeting, the Khasi leader apprised Oraon of the treaty being made stating that as per the treaty, the Khasi states had set up a Khasi States Constitution known as Dorbar comprising more than 100 members during 1948-1949, and elected its first members after a poll.
However, Kharshiing stated that when the constitution came into effect, the treaty of the Federation of 25 Khasi States did not find place in the Constitution of India, which is the cause for the present constitutional and legal conflicts in Meghalaya.