TURA, Nov 29: The much debated Garo Customary Law Amendment Bill, 2009 was passed unanimously albeit with additional clauses. The three new additions will look to put a stop to non Garos converting to the community through marriage as well as look at illegal sale of tribal land under various Mouzas in Garo Hills.
The Bill was passed in the GHADC and marks the second time that it has been taken up and passed by the Council. It had earlier been returned to the GHADC by the state government through the District Council Affairs department.
Three crucial insertions have been made by the Select Committee set up by the GHADC to review the bill as part of the latest amendments with one of the key parts being of marriage between a non Garo man and Garo woman.
The amendment provides that a non-Garo that marries a Garo woman cannot be regarded as a tribal in spite of a surname change through Court affidavit.
Another amendment is on the control of land falling under Mouza 5 to 10. This forms most parts of the plain belt in West Garo Hills wherein complaints have poured in of sale of tribal lands to non tribals. The amendment will look to allow GHADC to take full control of lands falling under the above Mouzas, which includes the A and B Mahal.
The move is also aimed at stopping encroachment which according to the MDCs has been aggravated due to the involvement of GHADC appointed Gaoburas in the illegal land sale.
“They (Gaoburas) were appointed by the district council for administrative purposes only but have misused their authority in selling tribal land. Some Nokmas too have violated the land transfer act with such illegal sale. They have also gotten away with it as they are appointed by the Mahari (clan) while the council can only recognize them,” said co-chairman of the Select committee, Augustine Marak.
Marak expressed his hope that the move with put a stop to such illegal acts.
Further, the third insertion relates to the only daughter of the Nokma who marries a Non Garo. The amendment states that the daughter cannot inherit the Nokmaship in such cases.
The amended Bill on Garo Customary Law will once again be forwarded to the Governor for his assent after which it will come into force once passed.