SHILLONG, Nov 27: The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly has decided to urge the Government of India to bring forward an official Bill to amend the 8th Schedule of the Constitution to include Khasi and Garo through a resolution that was passed in the House on Tuesday.
“This House unanimously resolved to urge upon the Government of India to initiate necessary measures, as early as possible to bring forward the Official Bill to amend the Eight Schedule of the Indian Constitution to include the Khasi and Garo Languages,” Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said in the resolution.
Although the resolution was passed in September earlier this year, certain corrections were required to be made before it is officially sent to the Centre.
The Assembly unanimously voted in favour of the resolution when Speaker Donkupar Roy put the resolution to vote.
Backing the appeal to be included in the Schedule of Languages, the resolution said that the two languages have rich and unique traditions which are different from other languages in the country and were considered second official languages in the state since 2005.
The nearly 14 lakh Khasi speakers and over 9 lakh Garo speakers (according to the Census 2011) have a sizeable population and are confined to a large continuous geographical zone and it is incumbent upon the Government of India to extend recognition as was done to Manipuri, Bodo, Nepali, etc. by amending the Constitution.
The Resolution also said that the two languages are also a medium of instruction up to higher secondary and higher education even as Calcutta University had recognised Khasi since 1900, the degree level in 1919 and the scholars in the North Eastern Hill University were permitted to present their thesis and disserting in Khasi for the subject since 1981.
As for the Garo language, the Calcutta University recognised the language at Matriculation level as one of the Modern Indian Languages in 1923 while the Gauhati University recognised Garo as Major Indian Language in 1947 and the NEHU introduced the language in 1996.
Earlier while extending full support to the resolution, Leader of Opposition, Dr. Mukul Sangma said, “We stand united in our common endeavour to move the Centre on the matter which is long pending aspiration of the people of the state.”
He also stressed the need for the state government to have a dedicated team of officers to work on the matter and ensure the objective is achieved.