TURA, April 07: In a memorandum sent to the Governor of Meghalaya, Banwarilal Purohit on Friday, the All A’chik Citizens Forum (AACF) has urged him not to give his assent to the codification of Garo Customary Law Bill, 2009.
Alleging that the GHADC passed the bill without consulting the stakeholders and without their consensus, the AACF said that this particular bill is “discriminatory” and in violation of the fundamental rights of its citizens, bringing it in its wake, divisiveness and vindictiveness.
The contention of the bill, which has raised anger amongst a section are — (a) Any person who is born of a non-Garo mother and a Garo father is not a Garo or A’chik even if he/she takes the ma’chong-ma’bipek’s chatchi (surname, title) of his/her father. (b) Any person who is born of a non-Garo father and a Garo mother is not a Garo or A’chik even if he/she takes the ma’chong-ma’bipek’s chatchi of his/her mother. (c) Any person born of a Garo father and a Garo mother but takes the ma’chong-ma’bipek’s chatchi of his/her father is not a Garo or A’chik as per Garo Customary Law.
The forum said that the Garos practice “Debra Ba’a” or adoption by the father-in-law’s clan in the failure of getting his nephew as a son-in-law (A’kim) for the heir apparent (Nokma) whether he is a Garo or a non-Garo.
It said that some primitive and immoral practices which are not acceptable to the present civilized society, which should have been done away with, and cannot be a law, are still being allowed in codified law.
The forum said that the objectionable clauses are those pertaining to the musical instrument section of the bill, which raises question on its authenticity. They said that moral laws like crime against women and children have been treated very lightly in the bill.
They also said that the bill needs thorough examination and review as severe discrepancies and anomalies have been found.