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Why tribal villages in Meghalaya want to end cooperation with the state government

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Shillong: Tribal village chiefs in the eastern part of Meghalaya on Saturday decided to end cooperation with the state government until it legally empowers the traditional institutions.

This decision – which is likely to have a major impact in tribal state Meghalaya – was adopted at the Dorbar Bah Ka Bri U Hynniew Trep (assembly of people of Hynniew Trep land), organised by the Synjuk ki Rangbah Shnong or chief of the federation of villages.

More than a lakh people from across the eastern part of Meghalaya on Saturday attended the assembly and demanded the Congress-led government to approve two bills passed by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) to empower the traditional institutions.

Almost all shops in the state capital remained closed on Saturday. Only a few local taxis were seen plying on the roads.

Saturday’s assembly was significant in the wake of an order of the Meghalaya High Court curtailing the powers of the traditional heads in issuing certificates to people unless empowered by legislation.

Adopting six resolutions, the assembly resolved to take further action if the two bills failed to get the governor’s assent by June 10.

The meeting also resolved to bring all village councils under one umbrella — that would be known as Dorbar Khasi Jaintia — with the sole intention to bring unity and preserve the customs and traditions of the indigenous people.

On Friday, Governor V. Shanmuganathan gave his assent to an ordinance to provide legal recognition to the functions of traditional institutions in the entire state.

Following the approval, the Meghalaya Local Administration (Empowerment of Traditional Institutions, Traditional Bodies and Headmen in Governance and Public Delivery System) Ordinance, 2015 was notified in the gazette.

The traditional intuitions include that of the Syiem, Lyngdoh, Sirdar, Wahadar, Dolloi, Rangbah Shnong in the Khasi – Jaintia Hills and that of A’King Nokma in the Garo Hills.

In a nutshell, the ordinance empowers traditional institutions to issue certificates to villagers within their respective jurisdictions.

The certificates may relate to proof of residence, life certificate of pensioners, no objection certificate for running hotel or guest house, and any other matter to be notified by the government.

The ordinance also provides protection on action taken under it as no suit or legal proceeding would lie against the headmen or traditional institutions in the discharge of functions.

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Devendra Fadnavis Sworn-in as Maharashtra Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar as Deputy Chief Minister

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra & Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar as the new Deputy Chief Minister

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Chief Minister of Maharashtra taking oath
Hon Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of Chief Minister of Maharashtra to Shri Devendra Fadnavis and Deputy CM to Shri Ajit Pawar.

In a stunning political development, Maharashtra Governor B.S. Koshyari on Saturday morning administered the oath of office to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar as the new Deputy Chief Minister.

The two were sworn-in at a function in the Raj Bhavan held around 8 a.m. in the presence of a few BJP and NCP leaders, and other government officials.

Soon afterwards, Fadnavis said that the Governor would give them a letter instructing when to prove the new government’s majority on the floor of the Assembly.

He added that the cabinet would be expanded at a later date.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conveyed his best wishes to Fadnavis for taking over as the CM for a second consecutive term, and to Pawar on his appointment as Dy.CM.

A letter was issued from Union Home Ministry simultaneously that said that President’s Rule was lifted from Maharashtra.

Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis
Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis taking oath.

Speaking to the media, Fadnavis said that after the elections, the Shiv Sena which had secured a clear majority in alliance with BJP rejected the public mandate and was engaged in forming the government with some other parties necessitating President’s Rule in Maharashtra.

Since it did not appear possible for those three parties to form a ‘khichdi’ (hotch-potch’) government and in order to provide a stable government to the state the decision was taken.

“Along with Ajit Pawar and support of others, we submitted a list to the Governor who discussed the issue with the centre to conclude that a viable government could be formed,” Fadnavis said.

Accordingly, after discussing with the Centre, the Governor invited Fadnavis and Pawar to form the government which was sworn-in.

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On his part, Ajit Pawar said that giving the state a stable government was the need of the hour which did not appear to be happening.

“I was tired of the continuous negotiations going on and so decided to go with Fadnavis and give a stable government to the state,” Pawar said. (IANS)