Amidst the ongoing controversy over the roster system, Congress Party MLA Saleng Sangma today asked citizens to think of themselves as Meghalayans and not as Khasis or Garos.
There are two opposing camps with regards to the roster system, which has been put in place to administer the state government’s job reservation policy – those who want it to apply retrospectively and those who want it to be implemented prospectively. Garo Hills-centred organisations largely favour the former and those from Khasi-Jaintia Hills largely the latter.
Speaking to reporters here today, Sangma, the Congress’s only MLA in Garo Hills, said that the roster system was supposed to be implemented from day one when the state’s reservation system came into force more than 50 years ago.
“However, this reservation policy was never adhered to in letter or spirit,” he said.
Under the policy, 40 per cent of government jobs are reserved for Garos and another 40 per cent for Khasi-Jaintias despite the latter heavily outnumbering the former. If the quota cannot be filled in a particular year, it can be carried forward for a limited time before becoming forfeit. This has affected the less developed Garo Hills more than the Khasi-Jaintia Hills and a retrospective roster system would thus benefit the former.
Saleng cautioned that both communities could end up in a bad situation if they are going to continue fighting about the roster and reservation policies.
“We will lose whatever we have if we keep on fighting,” he said.
Pointing out that the matter of the roster system should not divide Khasis and Garos, he added that residents of the state should act as Meghalayans.
“Eighty per cent of the reservation should be for Meghalayans and not for Khasi, Jaintias and Garos,” he added.
According to the Gambegre MLA, the real fight should be against outsiders taking government jobs in the state. According to him, a lot of people from outside Meghalaya are getting jobs in the state and instances such as these should be checked instead of the two major tribes fighting each other.
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