Pariat mum on Mukul’s ST status

Raju Das

SHILLONG, June 4 – Meghalaya Chief Secretary WMS Pariat who was brought out of retirement by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma remains incommunicado on the issue of replying to a petition questioning Sangma’s ST status.

In fact, the Meghalaya Chief Secretary has not replied to what action the Meghalaya Government has taken after the petitioner Tennydard Marak has raised a question mark on the Chief Minister’s ST status.

In a letter from the Rastrapati Bhavan dated March 7, the Under Secretary Chirabrata Sarkar has asked Warjri what action has been taken by the Government. However, the status of the reply remains unclear and also the Chief Secretary not willing to talk about it.

The ST status of Sangma is bogged in controversy as the petitioner has approached the Supreme Court claiming that the Chief Minister is not a tribal Garo as his mother was a non-tribal. Under the Garo matrilineal system the surname is inherited from the mother’s side.

In January this year, the Supreme Court directed the National Commission on Scheduled Tribe and Caste to adjudicate the case and dispose it off. It gave the Commission a eight week’s deadline to dispose of the case.

In the meantime, the Meghalaya Government instituted its own committee and summoned the petitioners to one of its hearing. The committee comprised of State Government officials thus raising the question of neutrality.

Based on another petition filed by Marak the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings of the hearing of the committee and issued notices to the State Government, Sangma, his brother Zenith Sangma and others asking the respondents to file their reply by July 21.