Meghalaya government on Tuesday introduced a bill to penalise non-tribals claiming to be tribals.
The bill, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District bill ((Khasi Social Custom of Clan Administration) Bill, 2018, was tabled by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) Chief Executive Member H S Shylla on the first day of the Meghalaya Assembly winter session which began on Tuesday.
The offender, under the new bill, will be penalised a jail term of three years and impose penalty fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.
“According to the bill, a non-tribal person claiming to be a member of the Khasi tribe by taking a Khasi surname within the jurisdiction of the KHADC, for economic and personal interests, will face a jail term of three years along with a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh,” Shylla said.
The KHADC is one of the three tribal councils in Meghalaya and one of 14 autonomous regions in the country formed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
“It is expedient to provide a law for the proper administration of clans (Kur) in order to conserve and grow the traditional matrilineal system of the Khasi society for the protection of their interest...,” a statement of the bill signed by Shylla said.
The statement also mentioned that the bill also aims to prevent the claims of Khasi status by unscrupulous persons purely for the benefit, concessions or privileges conferred on the Khasi as members of the ST by the Constitution of India.
“A large number of non-Khasi people have been misusing the Khasi Clan system for their personal advantage and self-interests thereby jeopardising and seriously disturbing the social, economic and cultural life of the Khasi people,” Shylla said.
According to reports, the newly introduced bill is similar to other bills that the Council has passed earlier in June this year.
The Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) Bill protect the sanctity of the Khasi tribes, which strictly follow the matrilineal system.
Moreover, under the bill, any Khasi woman who marries a non-Khasi, as well as her offspring(s) will lose her Khasi status and all privilege and benefits as a member of the indigenous community.
(With inputs from agencies)