The men’s rights organisation, Syngkhong Rympei Thymmai (SRT), has strongly condemned the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) Executive Member Jambor War and Chief Executive Member Titosstarwell Chyne for ordering headmen not to issue tribal certificates to any Khasi who has adopted their father’s clan name and not their mother’s.
According to the KHADC leaders, Khasi society was and is matrilineal and anyone using their father’s surname cannot be considered to be adhering to tribal norms.
The SRT has long opposed this restriction on Khasi surnames. It is of the view that, as Khasi society has changed markedly over the years, those who wish not to follow the matrilineal tradition can also do so without giving up their Khasi heritage entirely. The SRT has also previously blamed the high incidences of broken families on the lack of a strong role for men in their own homes.
Speaking to reporters today, SRT president Teibor Khongjee said that the organisation condemns the KHADC order to deprive and deny tribal certificates to children who bear their father’s surnames.
Khongjee said that state laws do not prohibit the issuance of Scheduled Tribe certificates to those who have adopted the surname of their father or even the adoption of the husband’s surname by the wife.
He said that there is no question for the district council to question the state government’s laws and orders.
“The Deputy Commissioner offices that issue the ST certificates should comply with the government order or else it will be contemptuous. If the issuing authorities continue this, we will be forced to take legal action,” Khongjee said.
According to the SRT, there are thousands of Khasis scattered across the state, country and abroad who carry their father’s clan name.
“Denial of ST certificates has been going on for several years,” Khongjee said, adding that, in spite of the government rule, some DCs, out of “emotion” or “attachment” to customary laws, still deprive and deny ST certificates to those using their father’s surname, which he described as highly illegal.
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