Meghalayas tribal leaders seek constitutional status

February 5th, 2008 - 8:08 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb.5 (ANI): Meghalayas three major tribal groups have sought constitutional recognition of their tribal chiefs from the central government.
Twenty representatives belonging to three predominant tribal groups from Meghalya– Khasi, Jaintia and Garowere in New Delhi to demand that their traditional institutions be integrated with Constitutional bodies.
The tribal representatives presented their demands before Mani Shankar Aiyar, the Union Minister for Development of the north eastern region (DONER) and Panchayatai Raj. They were invited by the Centre for the first time.
During the meeting that lasted almost half-an-hour, the tribal leaders urged the government to set up a party-less upper house for chiefs and rulers of the groups to meet the aspirations of their community. They, however, failed to get any assurance from the Union Minister Mani Shankar Ayer.
Ayer said: It is for them in Meghalaya to come to a conclusion among themselves as to how they would like to weld their traditional system into the contemporary system.
One of the tribal representatives John F. Kharshing said: We believe in the democratic process, that’s how we can solve it. Every time we have a new memorandum. We have also met some people, who have advocated their own idea.” He said that the tribal leaders do not want to adopt the path of violence.
The Panchayati Raj Act that was passed in 1991 upholds preservation of the “traditional systems of self-government, akin to Panchyati Raj” in the three states of the north-east Nagaland, Meghalya and Mizoram.
The tribal leaders want the “roles, functions and responsibilities of the indigenous tribal chiefs be defined in the Constitution in the same way as the role of a village “Sarpanch” or Village head has been defined in the Panchayati Raj system. (ANI)

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