Meghalaya NGOs hold public meeting on CAB under the mission, “Save Garo Hills, Save North East”

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TNT News | Jan 27, 2019

As Northeast India continues to oppose the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill with protest rally being held in Tripura on January 27, on the same day in Meghalaya, four NGOs of Garo Hills, namely the GSU, FKJGP, ADE and AYWO under the banner of NESO held a public meeting against the CCAB – 2016 under the mission 'Save Garo Hills, Save North East'. The meeting was attended by hundreds of residents with the speakers at the gathering taking strong exception to the 'second class' treatment being meted out to the people of NE, especially the tribals of the region.

"The BJP led NDA is forcing us to accept the Bill by placing unreasonable, dangerous and communal arguments. How can we accept such bill which will have serious implications and threatens our very existence," asked Tengsak Momin, the president of GSU.

The leader also added that Hindus had substantial population in Bangladesh and CAB will pave the way for 14 million Hindus from Bangladesh to infiltrate into India, more specifically NE India.

"This will have serious ramifications and tend to imbalance the population structure of the state. NDA is pushing this 'notorious' idea to have a political footprint in WB to consolidate their loss in Hindi heartland. They are polarising the Nation on the lines of religion," he added.

Manseng Sangma, the assistant general secretary of NESO further pushed for the name change of places to ones with indigenous ones.

"Hawakhana, Araimile, Dermile, Prahari Nagar and many more places should be change. The concerned authorities should take note of it and do the needful. Don't force us to take the task into our own hand. The nomenclature served no purpose and majority are of the opinion that this should be done at the earliest," said Manseng.

The NESO leader felt the people of Garo Hills should take pride in its language.

The AYWO general secretary Sengbath Ch Marak stressed on total revamping of District Council and to strive towards the common objective.

"We genuinely tried to sensitize people but we could not manage to convey the message due to time constraints. Our core objective is to remove the illegal immigrants, be it CAB, Entry Exit Point, ILP, GCL etc. Our core agenda is to protect our identity and we must go for multi layered protection from intruders. District Council should amend Rule 128 of Assam and Meghalaya (Constitution of District Councils) to provide necessary protection to the Indigenous people of the state," he said.

Sengbath further sought the constitution of a panel of experts to examine the Rule and amend it to the best purpose of Indigenous community.

Reminding how Garos in Tripura have gradually slowed down in population, ADE president Dalseng B Ch Momin said, "If we analyze the matter, one can find that inter marriage being the major factor. So to avoid such circumstances in near future, we earnestly need a law which will act as a guardian of our tradition and to protect and preserve our present for the well being of tomorrow. For that purpose Garo Customary Law (GCL) is best suited."

The ADE president hit out at the MDA government over the slow nature of movement of the GCL Bill.

"We doubt the intention and sincerity of MDA government in dealing with GCL. Why is the government delaying to recommend and suggest about the bill and 'advise' the Governor? The Nominal Head of the state is bound to act as per the advice of Council of Ministers," he asked.