SHILLONG, April 06: The Registration Authority of the KHADC has declared two applicants who are incidentally children of a prominent businessman based in Shillong, ineligible to be called Khasis after it ruled that the two have not me the requirement of the KHAD (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) Act, 1997.
This came following a petition filed by the Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) general secretary Robertjune Kharjahrin on January 21, last year.
Kharjahrin in his petition had alleged the two siblings – Varun S Lyngdoh and Sheena S Lyngdoh had dubiously obtained their Schedule Tribe Certificates as members of the Khasi community by “misrepresentation” of facts.
According to the HYC leader, this was done without first obtaining a Khasi Tribe Certificate as required under the Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) Act, 1997.
However in his order issued on April 3, KHADC Registration Authority RS Wanniang said, “In view of the facts and circumstances, I hereby held that both the respondents, Varun S Lyngdoh and Sheena S Lyngdoh are not Khasis as per the provisions of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) Act, 1997 and prevailing custom of the Khasis.”
As per letter dated October 9, 2015 from the office of the deputy commissioner of East Khasi Hills District, it was found that they had issued the ST Certificate to Varun and Sheena, the children of Shyam Singhania and Pearl S Lyngdoh of Rock Cliff, Cleve Colony, Dhanketi Shillong.
The order however pointed out that in the instant case, both the respondents could not produce a certificate from the traditional village headman or Rangbah Shnong as required and more importantly a certificate from the Rangbah Kur or Head of the Lyngdoh Clan that they belong to the Lyngdoh Clan.
Earlier, it was also revealed that despite directions to appear personally on three occasions (January 19, February 2 and 15, 2017), the respondents failed to appear, citing various reasons.
According to the Registration Authority, the personal appearance of the respondents is necessary to ascertain whether they fulfill the requirements as laid down in Section 3 of the Act.
“By shying away to appear before the Registration Authority and until proven otherwise, it is conclusive that the respondents do not fulfill the requirements of Section 3 of the Act,” Wanniang stated in the order.
Again in this instant case, the mother of the respondents (Varun and Sheena) as revealed by the order had adopted the surname of the Khasi father which is contrary to Khasi Custom.
As per Khasi custom the non-Khasi wife of a Khasi husband cannot adopt the surname of the Khasi husband, the Registration Authority said adding that the offspring of the Khasi father and a non-Khasi mother shall have to adopt a new Jait or Clan by prefixing “Dkhar” or “Khar” to the new Jait or Clan by way of a “Tangjait” ceremony.
The order was also forwarded to the Secretary of the Executive Committee, KHADC and to the office of the Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills District for information.
Meanwhile, the HYC general secretary Robertjune Kharjahrin in a press conference held on Thursday said the order is a major breakthrough which will act as a strong deterrent against any attempt to misuse the tribal status.
He informed that the decision to file the petition was after receiving several complaints on people from other communities using tribal Clan to get various benefits as Schedule Tribe (ST).
According to him, an RTI was accordingly filed with the office of the deputy commissioner which had revealed the names of the two persons.
Stating that the order issued by Registration Authority will be a warning and will encourage people to complaint on such cases, Kharjahrin said they would soon approach the Deputy Commissioner requesting on the need to lodge an FIR against the two persons for allegedly misrepresentation and cheating by impersonation.
“We demand that their ST certificates should be immediately cancelled,” he said while adding that a complaint will also be lodged with the income tax department against the Varun and Sheena.
Alleging that they have also acquired huge plots of land which is against the land transfer Act of the state, Kharjahrin said that the authority concerned will also be asked to investigate into this aspect and take necessary action.
Similarly, the matter will also be taken up with the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) with regards to their trading and businesses within its jurisdiction, he added.