Shillong: The acrimony of land acquisition by other tribal population in the Kiling-Philangkata area of Ri-Bhoi district has reached a flashpoint when the officially-elected Headman was allegedly threatened by a group of individuals who allegedly forced him to issue the no-objection certificate (NOC) for the land in question. This came to light on Wednesday when the Headman, Dilip Sangma, informed of the recent ordeal on how they forced him to sign a land deed that has been procured from a person without adhering to the traditional and customary rights of the indigenous people.
“I have got a sanad from the Syiem to take care of the customary rights over the traditional lands and no one can force me to put a seal on the papers that they have brought”, stated Dilip Sangma in his broken Hindi, even as he alleged that the tribal inhabitants of the other States have come to threaten him at his office.
Incidentally, the plot of land that was to be sold to the buyer has been acquired by a lady identified as S Kaikha. She never disclosed as to how the land has been procured except for saying that she bought it from a Khasi lady (name undisclosed). However, Kaikha, claiming herself to be part of an NGO, said that she had offered to sell the land to buyers with assurances that they should abide by the Khasi-Garo customary laws and practices.
Kaikha decided that the land that she has procured will be given back to the traditional council. Kaikha did not rebut that she has taken money in advance from the buyers before she decided to call it off. According to S Sangma, the women functionary of the area, “the entire land acquisition row in Philangkatta-Killing area is due to the connivance of certain influential heads”. “ Our Headman resisted all these misplaced attempts to sell our land but there are others right from the Deputy Syiem who was responsible for the entire fiasco”, Sangma said.