Khasi villagers of Umsen, Ri-Bhoi, and the Hynniewtrep A’chik National Movement (HANM) have expressed opposition to the appointment of a Nepali person as village headman by the traditional head of Raid Marwet.
Umsen is located near the Meghalaya-Assam border and has been without a headman for nearly two years following the death of the last one, Paulus Warlarpih, in January 2019.
Village Secretary John Warlarpih has alleged that the traditional leader of Raid Marwet, Ken Syiem, has favoured the Nepali community, which is in a majority in the village, over that of the indigenous Khasi folk.
The Khasi villagers demanded that a new election to choose a headman be initiated, but Syiem went ahead and appointed a headman of his own choice in violation of customary law, Warlarpih said.
There are around 20 Khasi households in the village, compared to 30 Nepali.
HANM’s Ri-Bhoi unit has demanded that Syiem cancel the appointment he made failing which the pressure group will raise the matter with the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council.