I am amazed when Congress party which was the one who party to the handing over and receipt of ,memorandum Instrument of Accession (IOA), between the Heads of Khasi States and the then Government of India (1947-48) and responsible for letting the status que for the past seventy years yet now create furore on the issue. I am also stunned when there are others who also joined hands while displaying a lack of understanding over the matter.
What’s in her mind when she (Ampareen Lyngdoh MLA) pushed for a resolution in the Assembly to let the Instrument of Accession(IOA ) and Annexed Agreement be inserted within the Article.371 of the Constitution of India, as do the other states ( Mizoram, Nagaland Goa, Andhra and others).
From the dailies, it appears that Ampareen Lyngdoh is herself not clear enough over the issue. The issue itself has in the past rattled even the most learned lawyers of India which compelled the Supreme Court to give its own. It will be much better if Kong Ampareen come clear so that her her proposal will attract serious attention. Art. 371, states “special provisions with respect to the States …..” For example, Art 371 (E) in relation to Andhra reads, ‘The Parliament shall pass legislation to grant University in the state of Andhra Pradesh.’
Art 371 (I) in relation to Goa states, ‘The Legislative Assembly of Goa will have 30 legislators.’
Art 371 (G) iin relation to Mizoram it says, ‘Any legislation of the Parliament shall not interfere any form of worship in Mizoram; so also their customs and traditions; or political and judicial affairs that regulates their customs and traditions or that of land. It also rules that the Mizoram Assembly will have not less than 40 MLAs. Similar rulings were made in respect of Nagaland and Sikkim.
Meghalaya too has all the above safeguards and special protection laid down in the Constitution despite not coming under Art 371.
Those are the twist and turns that needs to be made very clear by seeking help from the most learned Constitutional experts.
The very complex nature of these Article provisions will do more confusion than clarity to the public.
Out of the 29 states and 7 Union Territories in India, only 11 states come under Art 371. Does this means that the other states get no protection and safeguard?
Meghlaya has its Universities, apart from one Central University, NEHU. Its Assembly got 60 MLAs apart from the Autonomous District Councils embedded with rights over customs and traditions, land, religious adherence and many others granted provisions of I0A since the Britishers along with all other miscellaneous provisions under the Constitution of India, as mentioned above.
Due to these logical reasons that the Meghalaya Assembly rejects this complex resolution. We must also take note that in India there is no longer Hindu and Muslim Dynasty but Khasi people still do. Our Chiefs retain their legislative, Executive and judicial powers, and power over their customs and traditions. Another examples of special provisions is the fact that each Syiemships still run their weekly traditional markets. The nearest example of such market is the most popular Iewduh of hima Mylliem.
a little bit on the IOA, I have written in my book entitled, Ka Bynrap Bahynriew-6th Schedule.The 25 Heads of Khasi States signed to show that they accede with the government of India. Besides, they also signed that the government shall make any legistlations for them.
That Annexed Agreement identified only three points: that the Hima or Syiemships are entitled to jointly work with the government in relation to Excise, Forest and Land and water rights.
The Standstill Agreement lost its validity as it merged with the Instrument of Annexation. Therefore, there is no room now to go back to these Agreements also because all the safeguards are already included in them.
Kong Ampareen and others will have to come clear on these details if they push to go back to those Agreements. If they can provide substantial clarification the way is open to share in any logical point if there is.
On my part, I already clarified to the Heads of Khasi States that the matter is closed already. What remains is only to cherish and be cited as historical references only.