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Seng Khasi cries neglect

- Organisation points out ‘grave human rights violation’

Shillong, Jan. 5: The Meghalaya government is yet to constitute the minorities department, minorities commission and a finance corporation for minorities even after 14 years since a recommendation was made.

In his report of March 1999, then chairman of the National Minorities Commission, Tahir Mahmood, had pointed out that the state government should set up the above institutions for the welfare of the minorities, Seng Khasi (Seng Kmie) general secretary Banteilang Rumnong said today.

Seng Khasi is an indigenous cultural and socio-religious organisation in Meghalaya. Nothing has so far been done to implement Mahmood’s recommendations.

Seng Kmie is the central body of Seng Khasi.

Rumnong said in 2008-09, Seng Khasi had moved the Centre, state government and National Minorities Commission to recognise those belonging to Seng Khasi and Niam Tre (a cultural and socio-religious organisation from Jaintia Hills) as minorities.

He said chief minister Mukul Sangma had sought a clarification from the Centre on the minority status of Seng Khasi and Niam Tre.

“Now, we have formed a panel of experts to again pursue with the authorities concerned to gain recognition as minorities,” Rumnong said.

Recently, BJP MP Tarun Vijay along with Supreme Court advocate Rajesh Gogna met National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson Justice (retired) K.G. Balakrishnan to apprise him of the status of those belonging to the Seng Khasi.

Vijay, who also submitted a petition to the NHRC chairperson, pointed out the “grave violation of human rights” of the minority Seng Khasi tribals. According to the BJP MP, the majority of Meghalaya was getting minority benefits while real minorities are “denied” all central and state-level schemes meant for them.

Justice (retd) Balakrishnan had said action would be taken accordingly. Meghalaya, a predominantly Christian state, is also home to those who belong to Seng Khasi and Niam Tre. Out of the nearly 30 lakh population in the entire state, those belonging to Seng Khasi and Niam Tre constitute about 10-11 per cent while the figure is around 25 per cent in the Khasi-Jaintia hills region, Rumnong said.