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The Achik Youth Welfare organisation (AYWO) on Wednesday has warned both national and regional parties in Garo Hills, asking them to not give party tickets to non-tribal candidates for the upcoming elections to the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC).
“GHADC serves the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and GHADC is meant to preserve our cultural tradition and to protect the ‘minuscule tribe’ which is vulnerable to be swamped by outsiders."
"It is a special provision made only for tribal people passed by the Constituent Assembly solely to protect the identity of tribal people. It seeks and intends to safeguard the rights of tribals and, this schedule has the power to save their unique identity and culture of the Garos,” asserted president of AYWO, Sengbath Ch Marak.
He contended that there was no role for the non-tribal in tribal-dominated areas and taking part in the affairs of the GHADC "dilutes the whole essence of the 6th Schedule".
“This is the only reason why AYWO and other prominent NGOs are urging the authorities to uphold the real spirit of the Sixth Schedule,” he added.
Sengbath cited Item 1 of Part 1-Assam Schedule to the Constitution Order 1950 where it is stated that non-tribal don’t have the power to vote in the District Council elections.
“We want to give a stern warning to all the political parties to refrain from giving party tickets to non-tribals for the upcoming GHADC Election. We are ready to agitate if our voices are not heard and, the parties must face the consequences. The next government should make it a priority to make a separate electoral roll for the GHADC election and amend the rules barring non-Garos in GHADC,” he stated.
(Edited by Laxmi Chyrmang)