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Non-tribals illegally obtaining Garo titles in SGH, claims GSU leader

TURA: The Mindikgre Regional Unit of the GSU in South Garo Hills has alleged that many people belonging to the Muslim community from the district are illegally acquiring Garo titles by illegal conversions and has urged the Deputy Commissioner to look into the matter.

In several related complaints to the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of police, President of the regional unit, Greneth M Sangma said that suspected Bangladeshi Muslims backed by Nokmas and local residents who posed as their guardians, have acquired Garo titles and registered their EPICs under their new names merely to avail of ST quotas and evade income tax.

The GSU leader cited an instance in which one, Babul Islam changed his title to Babul R Marak without any valid documents and thereafter, obtained EPIC under the new name in 2008. Besides Babul Islam, seven other violators belonging to villages like Konagittim, R C Mission Compound, Dopagrang, Balsri Ading, Bolsalgre and Wagesik were named by the GSU leader in his complaint.

“This goes completely against the Garo Customary Laws. According to Garo tradition, the practice of adoption occurs only if there is no son or daughter in the family. The practice is done with a ceremony called ‘Dera’gata’ which is blessed publicly by the ‘Chra-Depantes’ (eldest sons) from the concerned clan. Another practice of adoption is ‘Deba’a’ in which the girl’s father brings a ‘Chawari’ (son in-law) for his daughter. But here also, the Chawari must be from the father’s clan. Garos have never practiced adopting a person from another tribe or community,” Sangma said.

The GSU leader went on to claim that in the past, ‘many Supreme Court rulings on inter-caste marriages had ordered that a person may change his religion and faith but not his caste, as caste has linkage to birth’.

Cautioning that this trend of illegally changing titles if allowed to go on, could destroy the Garo lineage or progeny in the future, Sangma urged authorities concerned to review and scrutinized the documents (including EPIC) issued to such violators and to cancel the same.

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