The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) on Tuesday decided to file a petition against the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Meghalaya and Assam as it is affected land belonging to five Himas.
The decision was taken at a meeting convened by the Council’s Boundary Committee with the traditional heads from the five Himas – Hima Mylliem, Hima Nongspung, Hima Jirang, Hima Nonglang and Hima Jyrngam Sirdarship – from the two districts West Khasi Hills and Ri Bhoi.
Speaking to reporters, Executive Member in-charge Elaka, Jambor War said, “We have unanimously decided to move to the court against the MoU signed between Meghalaya and Assam as it seeks to transfer lands falling under the jurisdiction of the five Himas to Assam.”
He said a coordination committee has been constituted to recommend to the boundary committee on how to move forward in this regard.
“The coordination committee will submit a report to the boundary committee for its final approval before we move to the court,” War informed.
Former KHADC chief PN Syiem, who is also a member of the boundary committee, said that the decision was taken after all options were closed.
“We feel there is no other option left but to move to the court after the state government through the chief minister and deputy chief minister had clearly stated that it (MoU) will not be reviewed again,” he said.
He however said it is too early to say whether the council will approach the Meghalaya High Court or the Supreme Court as that will depend on the wisdom of the coordination committee.
Terming the MoU as “unconstitutional”, Syiem said, “The signing of the MoU to transfer certain lands falling under the jurisdiction of Himas is against the Constitution of India, because the boundary of the Himas is the boundary of the state. The question is the court will scrutinize our claims along with evidence. If our claim is strong, they can scrap the MoU or even stay the second phase of border talks till the final verdict of the court. Since these are our lands, we feel we have to approach the court for its intervention.”
Stating that the boundary of the state is based on the boundary of the Khasi states, the former CEM said the Assam Reorganization Act, 1969 had clearly mentioned that the boundary of the autonomous state will be as per defined in the Sixth Schedule where the boundary of the Khasi states will be the boundary of the autonomous state.
The North East Reorganization Act, 1971 also mentioned that the section 3 of the Assam Reorganization Act will be the boundary of the new state of Meghalaya, he added.
When asked, UDP leader and nominated member Bindo M Lanong said, “Once we go to court everything comes to a standstill. All these will come to a standstill by procedure of stay.”
Meghalaya and Assam had signed the MoU for ending the 50-year-old dispute in 6 of the 12 areas of difference in New Delhi on March 29, in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had also maintained that the question of revisiting the MoU will not arise. The two states are likely to start the second phase of border talks for resolving the six remaining areas of difference by June-July.