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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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Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

Announcing the decision, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was in line with the government's agenda to empower minorities without appeasing them.

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A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. Wikimedia Commons
A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. Wikimedia Commons
  • The government had drafted the policy after the Supreme Court asked it in 2012 to withdraw it gradually by 2022
  • The government would utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls
  • This year, the highest number of Indian pilgrims are likely to go for the pilgrimage

The central government on Tuesday said it has decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage.

Announcing the decision, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was in line with the government’s agenda to empower minorities without appeasing them.

“This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement,” Naqvi told reporters here.

He said the government would utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel to Haj without Mahram

The government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner after the Supreme Court asked it in 2012 to withdraw it gradually by 2022.

This year, the highest number of Indian pilgrims are likely to go for the pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased India’s quota by 5,000.

A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. IANS

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