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VAB: Meet sets June 10 deadline for govt

People take part from different district of the State at the public rally, organised by the Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong at Polo ground on Saturday.     (Photo by sanjib Bhattacharjee).
People take part from different district of the State at the public rally, organised by the Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong at Polo ground on Saturday. (Photo by sanjib Bhattacharjee).

SHILLONG: The meeting of a grand council or Dorbar Bah Ka Bri Hynniewtrep has set June 10 deadline for the State government to pass two bills passed by the KHADC and JHADC providing legal recognition to the functions of traditional institutions in the State.
The decision to this effect was at the meeting of the Dorbar Bah Ka Bri Hynniewtrep which was attended by more than 1 lakh plus people from across Khasi and Jaintia Hills at Polo Ground, here, on Saturday.
Informing this, Dr Werlok Kharshiing, president, Synjuk Rangbah Shnong (SRS), said that if the State Government failed to meet the deadline then they would take some other steps to press for passing of these bills.
“The two bills should get the approval of the Governor as soon as possible so that it can become an Act,” Dr Kharshiing said while addressing the gathering.
The meeting also resolved to bring various Dorbar Shnong of Khasi and Jaintia Hills under the umbrella Dorbar Shnong of Khasi-Jaintia whose task will be to protect and to facilitate the exercise of strengthening the tradition and culture of the Khasi indigenous community.
At the same time, it was also resolved that the Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong will closely take up issues concerning the interest of the Khasi indigenous community of Khasi and Jaintia Hills in future.
“We have decided that we will not take part in any government programme till the matter is resolved,” the SRS president said.
Earlier, Mawlai Town Dorbar (MTD) chairman SD Khongwir, while speaking at the meeting, said that they were not going to accept the village administration Bill “if any of its provisions is against the interest of the Dorbar Shnong and the indigenous community”.
“We are aware that the Government has suggested some corrections to be made in the village administration bill passed by the KHADC. We are very clear that we will strongly object if any of the correction in the bill is not in sync with the prevailing practice of the traditional bodies,” Khongwir said.
He also said that he does agree to the arguments of many of the critic that the present issue is related specifically related only to the Rangbah Shnong.
“We are aware that the Rangbah Shnong is only the head of the Dorbar Shnong. The fact is that the Rangbah Shnong comes and goes. But the institution remains forever. Therefore, the stripping of the powers of the Rangbah Shnong has negated the whole functioning of the Dorbar Shnong,” the MTD chairman said.
Khongwir also advocated participation of women in the meetings of the Dorbar Shnong.  “We cannot keep women out of the Dorbar Shnong since they are part and parcel of any village and locality. We have to adopt some new reforms with the change of time,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ri-Bhoi district Dorbar Ki Rangbah Shnong general secretary CB Syiem slammed the legislators and MDCs for failing to unanimously raise the issue.
He, however, asserted that the traditional institutions were in no way responsible for this current stalemate “since it is a total failure on part of the elected representatives to formulate laws on the powers and functions of the Rangbah Shnong”.
Mawpat Rangbah Shnong Khrawbuit Ryntathiang, however, admitted that the ruling of the court was a wake-up call for the traditional institutions.
“In the past several years, the Rangbah Shnong had been performing their duties as per customs and practices which had been there since time immemorial. We never realized that we require a law to empower us,” he said.

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