Opposing the appointment of Rakesh A. Sangma (formerly known as Rakesh Newar Sangma) to the post of the Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the GHADC, owing to his background, the Conglomeration of the NGOs/Civil Societies from Garo Hills i.e. GSU, FKJGP, ADE, FAF, AYWO & NESO have intensified their agitation as they called for night protest as part of their Civil Disobedience Movement in all over Garo Hills.
Giving reason, the pressure groups in a press statement mentioned, “Rakesh A. Sangma and his siblings has in their school life always identified themselves as “Newar” and not “A. Sangma” however, in their college life they changed their identity to “Newar Sangma” for reasons better known to them, however, prior to the GHADC election Shri. Rakesh Newar Sangma filed an affidavit and started identifying himself as Rakesh A. Sangma (the A representing the A.gitok clan).”
“ We suspect that it was politically conducive for him to identify himself as a bona-fide Garo to contest the election as the seat (7 Babelapara Constituency) from which he contested was a tribal majority electorate and people may not have taken very kindly to a non-tribal candidate,” the statement added.
The conglomeration of pressure groups who has called for a Civil Disobedience Movement in all of Garo Hills since the 1st of February said, “Rakesh Newar Sangma’s mother does belong to the A.gitok clan and thus, he could identify as an A.gitok by virtue of the matrilineal society of the Garo Society, however, the fact that none of the family members of Rakesh Newar Sangma has ever practiced the matrilineal culture of the Garo Society, cannot be ignored.”
“As per the Garo matrilineal culture, a person after marriage has to leave their parents house to live with their wives and prioritize his wife’s clan over his own, however, Both Rakesh Newar Sangma and his brother has made their wives leave their parents’ house and live with his parents. This is not the only unusual thing about their family, it is an open secret that Mr. Rakesh Newar Sangma and his family members have never lived as per the Garo Culture and does not understand nor practiced the Garo Cultrure their whole life. Neither, do their family’s rites and rituals nor religious beliefs align with that of the Garo Society. They have always practiced their father’s culture, tradition and religious beliefs who, belongs to the Newar clan of the Nepali Community. We are pointing out these facts not to malign him or his family members however, these facts are important to be mentioned to understand our opposition to him being appointed as the CEM of GHADC,” the groups said.
“Our greatest objection of Rakesh A. Sangma being elected as the CEM of the GHADC is because the CEM of GHADC exercises Judicial Power of the highest Authority in the GHADC on all traditional Civil Cases. The civil cases involve sensitive issues in regards to our traditional institutions and land. Nokmas who are the guardian of our A.kings (land owned by a clan) is appointed by the CEM of the GHADC, any dispute between 2 (two) A.kings will be judged by the CEM, any dispute within a clan and an A.king over the right of ownership of Nokmas will be judged by the CEM, designation of New A.kings for any Clan will be ordered by the CEM and the list goes on. These mentioned Judicial Powers of the CEM is of great significance for the preservation of the Identity of the Garos and preservation of the Culture of the Garo Society as A.kings and Nokmas are pivotal in the determination of the Garo Identity and how can a person who never lived his life following the Garo Culture and Tradition give his verdict on such sensitive issues?” they further added.
The combined groups made an appeal to all political leaders of the state in general and the politicians of Garo Hills in particular to take note of their concerns and overturn the decision to appoint Rakesh A. Sangma from the post of the CEM of GHADC. A separate appeal was also made to MDC Rakesh A. Sangma himself to resign from the post owing moral responsibility.