Dire warnings of ethnic strife if the job reservation ratio is altered amount to nothing more than false prophecy, the Voice of the People Party (VPP) said today, taking aim at the National People’s Party (NPP).
The VPP wants to see changes in the job reservation policy as part of a wider look at the roster system. Currently, the Garo and Khasi-Jaintia communities are entitled to 40 percent of reservations each in state jobs even though the Garo community is smaller than the other.
Today, VPP spokesperson Batskhem Myrboh said that the VPP “expresses serious concern that some misguided politicians belonging to the NPP prophesied for their own political reasons that if there is a change in the ratio of reservation, Meghalaya would be engulfed in ethnic conflict and violence. Such false prophecy on the one hand projects to the world that the Garo community is an irrational one with high propensity for violence (even on a false premise) which is in fact contrary to the fact and the belief of our party. Such a description ought to be condemned by every sensible person.”
On the other hand, he added, “the Khasi-Jaintia community has been advised by such politicians not to use their rational thinking but remain indifferent and blindly accept any wrong decision inflicted by the NPP-led MDA government on them. The VPP instead holds the Garo community in high regard with the capacity to use rationality and apply the sagacious mind. Also, the VPP encourages both communities to resist any wrong decision taken up by the government while maintaining a strong sense of fraternity.
The VPP’s strength lies wholly in Khasi-Jaintia Hills, while the NPP, while projecting itself as a national party based in the North East, has its strength based in Garo Hills.
The VPP has taken a highly confrontational approach to the subject of the roster system and reservation policy, holding public demonstrations and walking out of an all-party meeting last week.
Myrboh said that the party dares to challenge anyone if they see that the VPP’s demand is “wrong and illogical”. He added that the job policy was formulated in 1972 and it is stated that the reservation is based on population. However, the population consideration was not based on factual census data but on assumption, the VPP said.
People who oppose census data to determine the ratio of reservation “have a hidden agenda to deprive the Khasi-Jaintia community of their rightful claim,” Myrboh said. “The allegation that the VPP raises the job reservation policy with a hidden agenda to gain electorally in the upcoming MDC elections is nothing short of absurdity… The VPP is committed to people’s issues and we will not refrain from raising them.”
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