Tura, April 22: A conglomeration of five NGOs today staged a protest outside the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council building seeking exclusion of non-tribals from the council elections.
The NGOs are - Garo Students' Union, Association for Democracy and Empowerment, Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People, A'chik Youth Welfare Organisation and Federation of A'chik Freedom.
The organisations said in last year's elections, two non-tribals were elected, which was against the very spirit of the council.
GSU's chief executive committee president Tengsak Momin said the Sixth Schedule was meant to protect the customs and traditions of the indigenous people and Garo hills was fortunate to have been accorded the council. Momin said since 2008, they have been opposing participation of non-tribals in the council polls.
He said so far around 8,000 names of non-tribals have been deleted from the electoral rolls in Tura and around 20,000 in entire Garo hills. "There are more names, which need to be deleted, so that we can stop the non-tribals from voting," Momin said.
The NGOs demanded that non-tribals should not be allowed to either vote or contest in the council elections.
Momin questioned why the council is still using electoral roll in the name and style of Assam electoral roll. The first council polls were held in 1952. He said the union was pressing the Centre to include A'chik language in the Eighth Schedule so that Garos can avail of benefits in civil service examinations.