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Hynñiewtrep Integrated Territorial Organization corners MDA Lahkmen Rymbui over issue of land documents

The HITO (Hynñiewtrep Integrated Territorial Organization) has raised questions on the move of the District Council Affairs Minister Lahkmen Rymbui whereby he

Lahkmen Rymbui

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  7 July 2021 4:40 AM GMT



SHILLONG: The HITO (Hynñiewtrep Integrated Territorial Organization) has raised questions on the move of the District Council Affairs Minister Lahkmen Rymbui whereby he has sought land documents from the Autonomous District Council (ADC).

Drawing the attention of the Minister to recent media reports, the Organization said, "The government, of which you are part of, proposes to seek the assistance of the autonomous district councils in collecting land documents pertaining to the disputed areas with Assam.

HITO president Donbok Dkhar further said, "It is learnt that you intend to use these documents for talks with Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his impending visit to Shillong, that is, if given an opportunity to broach the subject.

"It comes as a shock to the people of the State -- which is on the cusp of celebrating its golden jubilee of Statehood -- to know that the government of the day does not have proper land documents pertaining to the State's boundaries and has to depend upon the mercy of our three ADCs."

He further said that "if this is true, then does it mean that the Meghalaya's democratic Government of the day is telling us that the people of the State have all along been lied by the previous governments with regards to the border issues?

"The HITO feels that if at all the assistance of the ADCs is needed, the government should instead lead a delegation comprising representatives from the ADCs in the summit with the Union Home Minister and not relegate them to be mere spectators. This clearly shows that this government, which is at the sunset of its term, is yet to announce its common minimum programme, and has no concern for the uplift and proper status of the ADCs." The HITO has urged the MDA government to refer to the report of the committee constituted in 2012-2013 to identify and record all the areas of dispute between Meghalaya and Assam.

"The people on both sides of the border remain in confusion and often fearful of high handedness by official authorities from either side. They often land up between the devil and the deep blue sea and their woes remain unheard of; leave alone any hope of a lasting solution," he said.

The HITO also demanded the removal of the term 'Land Holding' from all official land documents issued by the ADCs to land owners and to replace them with the 'Land Ownership' mode.

The HITO also demanded that the MDA government must place in the public domain the recommendations of the all-party committee on boundary so that all the stakeholders are aware of this critical issue and thereby get an opportunity to decide their fate.

He further said that till such time that Union Home Ministry gives a go ahead to the implementation of ILP (Inner Line Permit) in the State, the MDA government must temporarily implement the ILP Bill passed by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council in 2018 for the entire Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills region. The government should rather execute all pending resolutions passed by the august Meghalaya Assembly in the recent years. The resolutions include exemption and amendment under para 12 A (b) of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India for amendment of i) Forest Conservation Act 1980, ii) Coal Nationalisation Act 1973 and Mining related Acts, iii) ILP, iv) inclusion of Khasi Language in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution of India v) Indian Registration Act 1908.

He also said that if the MDA government is deeply and sincerely concerned for the future of the State as a whole, it should resolve the above issues which was an integral part of its 2018 election promises and with time running out, it is high time that an action taken report is tabled publicly before the citizens of the State.

"With the Assembly elections around the corner all the MDA constituents viz. NPP, UDP, HSPDP, BJP, PDF, NCP and Independents must remember their electoral oath to the people. People urgently need to know whether they finally get to cast their votes in Meghalaya and live safely and securely ever after, or still remain in perpetual suspended animation under the shadow of Assam. If Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma refers to Assam as "Bigger Sister" and calls his counterpart "Elder Brother", then its high time that he practises the bond in Letter and Spirit," he said.

He further said that any discussion/negotiation on the boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam must include the Federation of Khasi States Clause 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the Annexed Agreement of the Instrument of Accession, accepted and signed by C Rajagopalachari, Governor General of India and the 25 Khasi States on August 17, 1948.

"This significant and long-awaited treaty between the Government of India and the Khasi States is yet to be honoured by the Central Government. Hence, it is incumbent on the MDA government of the day to clarify its position on this 'Treaty of the Khasi States' because failing to do so will undermine the spirit of the treaty during boundary parleys," he said. The HITO also demanded the immediate constitution of a 'Boundary Committee' by the Government of India comprising all four stakeholders i.e., its representatives from relevant agencies, the Government of Meghalaya, the Federation of Khasi States and the autonomous district councils so that the issues are resolved and taken to their logical conclusion at the earliest.

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