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Meghalaya Social Welfare Minister Kyrmen Shylla, on January 6, clarified on the notification issued by the department which stated that it was not a directive for issuing of Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificate to persons who have taken their father’s surname.
“We have only recommended that there should not be any delay in issuing the ST (Scheduled Tribe) certificate to any genuine cases. The Deputy Commissioner concerned would have to properly scrutinise before issuing any ST certificate to those individuals who had taken their father’s surname,” Shylla told reporters.
However, Shylla pointed out that as per practice, most of the indigenous people of the state are taking their mother’s surname, maintaining that proper consultation is important with various stakeholders on this issue.
“Personally, I have nothing to comment whether we should issue or deny ST certificate to those who have taken their father’s surname,” he added.
Shylla also stated that the concerned authorities, whether it is the Deputy Commissioner’s Office or the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs), would decide the last call on whether to issue ST certificates.
Earlier, a group of concerned citizens had expressed vehement opposition against the state government’s notification which seeks to issue Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificates to indigenous people who are taking the surname of the father’s clan.
Senior United Democratic Party (UDP) leader Bindo Mathew Lanong had criticised the state government’s decision to allow Khasis who carry their father’s clan name instead of their mother’s (as is the tradition) to apply for a Scheduled Tribe certificate as he termed it unlawful.
On November 17, 2020, the Social Welfare Department, through the Under Secretary, had written to the Deputy Commissioners of East Khasi Hills and West Khasi Hills.
In the letter, the department stated that the District Level Committee is to decide on each application expeditiously and to issue or reject the certificates of all applicants, including those whose parents are both Khasis but who have taken the father’s surname, according to the documents and procedures by passing a speaking order in each case.
(Edited by Andre Kongri)