There is nothing absurd nor strange about the growing voices from Garo Hills region, all wanting to have a separate State of their own, after having shared with Khasi-Jaintia Hills for over fifty years as of now. There is nothing wrong either, with the demand for shifting of the State capital to Garo Hills during winter, the way it is practised in Jammu and Kashmir, though the shifting there is for a valid reason, due to winter and snowfalls, whereas the issue here has nothing to do with weather; it is perhaps, more for trial run of the impending State, which is fair enough too and why not?
The only drawback will be in terms of hither-thither shifting of personnel and the wherewithal aspect, which will be quite a burden upon a virtually cash-strapped State, already in a burden of how to clear the overdrafts and other backlog expenses, including that of employees. It will be quite an uphill task for the sagacious Chief Minister Mr. Conrad Sangma, but who will not miss the opportunity to take in his stride, that nothing stands in his way for a good cause and to fulfill the aspirations of all, come what may; the common youthful challenges!
Those who question the size of the would-be bifurcated Garo State, should better look into reason and compare with several other states in India, like Goa, Sikkim, Tripura, Mizoram and some others, without forgetting the Union Territory of Delhi. Garo Hills with 24 Assembly seats equally deserves from that count also on merit.
The Khasi-Pnars have alongside with the Garos, fought together for bifurcating a state from the erstwhile unified Assam, under the leadership of Capt. W A Sangma and others from Khasi and Jaintia Hills, until finally Parliament passed the ‘Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act 1969’. We owe profusely the sacrifice of our leaders who, in unison, managed to convert the dreams for creation of Meghalaya State, into reality.
The Khasi-Pnar elder brothers, going by at least the larger land-mass size of the State, should hold no ill-will or a sense of remorse on this proposed bifurcation issue, it should rather be a memorable complement to wish the Garo brothers and sisters to have their dreams come true in an exquisite style, fait-accompli. Our deep-rooted bond will never end, so long as this historic exercise, jointly organised and succeeded, lasts in memory. Over and above, thousands of Garos who have come from don’t-know-where, are permanent settlers in large areas of Khasi Hills, especially in West Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi. They all mingle as one.
Almost all the major tribal communities in the North East have been blessed with a State of their own, including the Nagas and the Mizos, barring the Mikirs or otherwise known also as the Karbis, whose leaders fought together relentlessly with the Khasi-Pnars and the Garos for Statehood. They are yet to make their voice heard, though recently, several innocent Khasi-Pnar farmers of Mukroh village were gunned down for no good reason.
Hopefully such types of unprovoked massacres, followed by recent incursions in several parts of Jaintia Hills district have no link with statehood preparations. Take the case of Meghalaya, which was born without shedding a drop of blood, whose Satyagraha agenda of Mahatma Gandhi, appealed the hearts of national leaders in Delhi and elsewhere.
Roster System Issue
It may not be stale as yet to delve into this inconclusive Roster System in our study, though this subject had initially gone berserk, especially on the ticklish issue of prospective and retrospective time factor, where many views and reactions for and against, have been expressed and debated in public at large, which debates however, seems to have come to a near settlement, whether one likes it or lumps it, with the Hon’ble High Court of Meghalaya, having given its Suo-Moto order recently in April, while dismissing the PIL petition of one G M Sangma on the issue.
It may be recalled that Meghalaya as a new born State in January 1972, while dispensing its initial duties as an Autonomous State, nothing was mentioned about Roster System in the (Resolution) No-PER 222/71/138 dated 12.01.1972, relating to employment policy, which indicated the Quota System for different tribes of the State.
This contending Roster System on employment came about, apparently with effect from 10.05.2022, which system will be applicable only for the category of those who are formally appointed.
Now the ball is in the court of the State government, especially when the High Court, having dismissed the above petition of Mr. Sangma, also cast a duty upon the State government to decide on the coveted cut-off date, the Executive being the right authority to examine and settle the matter on merit of the issue.
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