SHILLONG, Sept 11 - A resolution moved by the Opposition in the Meghalaya Assembly today to urge the Centre to accord a special status to Meghalaya through Constitutional amendments was defeated by a voice vote.
The resolution was moved by Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh who advocated inclusion of Meghalaya under Article 371(J) of the Constitution.
Lyngdoh said, “There is an urgent need to create a new space for us”. She cited instances when Central laws had prevailed over traditional customs and laws. She said the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution have been compromised in recent times and added that it was time that everyone “jointly fights against the common foe”.
Leader of the Opposition Mukul Sangma alleged the Central Government was ignorant of the country’s diversity and added that it was trying to impose its will on the States. “The view of the State has become immaterial,” Sangma said.
Supporting the resolution, another Congress legislator George B Lyngdoh said that the sudden abrogation of Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir bore testimony to how the rights of the States could be overidden without any consultations.
Lyngdoh also warned that laws like the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the Anti-Conversion Bill and the Uniform Civil Code would permanently alter the socio-religious practices of the tribal population.
However, District Council Affairs Minister James Sangma countered the argument by stating that a similar resolution moved by a former member of the House some years ago was defeated by the then Congress Government in the House.
He also said the debate on the federal structure of the country has been going on forever and there is nothing new to it, and therefore, there should not be any unnecessary paranoia over it.
Sangma said that the Union ministers have been visiting the State and the region more frequently these days.
“Therefore, it is wrong to say that the federal structure is in jeopardy. Now we see more interactions,” the minister maintained.