From A Reporter
Shillong, Sept 7: A PIL has been filed at the Meghalaya High Court on Wednesday by Berrd N Marak against the State government, Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) and others challenging the Land Transfer Act, 1955, the pattas issued by GHADC in an Akhing land and also the existence of Non Hill Mauza X in Garo Hills.
In a statement, Marak alleged that the GHADC issued pattas (document of land ownership) over the Akhing land without the consent of the Nokma when there was a court ruling already that says that District Councils are not the authority of land in Sixth Schedule areas.
Justifying his decision to file a PIL, he said, “The GHADC and government are politically united in exploiting the weak and the poor of the Garo Hills for which the PIL has been filed.”
According to him, the lands of the indigenous tribals are illegally grabbed in Garo Hills without following land acquisition processes.
In this connection, he said, “If anyone tries to raise their voice against such exploitation, they make you the enemy of the State like they did to me. They did everything to stop me from filing this PIL as they know the truth would expose the manipulations of the rich and the powerful in the past.”
He further alleged that the GHADC has facilitated the State government to occupy large tracts of lands in Garo Hills by issuing pattas instead of protecting the lands of Scheduled Tribes. “The government rarely acquired land in Garo Hills, and payment of compensation to the actual authority and custodian of land (Nokmas) hardly took place. They totally disrespected the traditiol heads and traditiol laws of the Garos that were openly violated, changing the rules of the land owning system of the Garos and franchise of the Nokma into patta system which diluted the cultural identity of the Garos over land,” he said.
Marak said that the PIL has been filed keeping in mind the poor and weaker sections of the society whose grievances are hushed off by the government, civil societies and media in Garo Hills.