AICC spokesperson takes up plight of teachers

Shillong, Feb 23: Congress spokesperson Dr Shama Mohamad on Thursday expressed concern over the plight of teachers during the NPP-led MDA government.

Addressing a press conference at Congress Bhawan, Shama said while the NPP-led MDA government was busy looting the people’s resources, Meghalaya witnessed an unprecedented plight of its teachers who had to protest to get their salaries on time. NPP and BJP were silent on many pertinent issues that directly affected the protection of the unique identity and ethnic rights of the people of Meghalaya.


She said the teachers are backbone of any civilization and in Meghalaya the teachers were made to almost beg for their salaries and had to take to the streets and post postcards to the Prime Minister of India in desperate bid to draw attention to their plight. The government was so insensitive that they failed to pay teachers’ salaries regularly. “What will happen to the future generations of Meghalaya if people who teach them are not respected and provided their basic salary? , she asked.

She said as everyone knows there has been a Grand Meghalaya Loot! A loot of the resources of the  people of Meghalaya some of which include

• Assembly dome collapse scam

• Rs 816 crore Covid scam

• Rs 500 crore MUDA scam

• Rs 650 crore  Illegal coal scam.

• Rs 149 crore Saubhagya scam.

• Rs 50,00000 kg (50 lakh ) rice scam .

• Excise/Bond cartelisation scam.

• Casino scam.

• Friends & Family government contracts scam.

• Police purchase scam.

The details of which we had already shared in the chargesheet.

According to the Congress, Meghalaya has the tag of ‘worst performing’ state in the field of education according to the performance Grading Index 2021. The weakness in Meghalaya’s education system has been exposed every time teachers took to the streets demanding either a pending salary or regularisation of job, she said.

“The congress which had taken the intiative of doubling the salaries of teachers during its term in office is committed to restore the dignity of all teachers in Meghalaya. Congress party is committed that there will be no more delay in salaries. Our teachers don’t have to resort to dharna or protests for their legitimate demands. We respect you and your profession and your justified demands will be fulfilled because we respect the dignity of your profession and acknowledge your selfless service”, she said.

Protection of Sixth Schedule

The BJP government at the Centre has proposed the 125th Constitution Amendment Bill 2021 (Sixth Schedule Amendment). That means in the near future, the entire Sixth Schedule which gives protection and safeguards the rights and identities of the indigenous tribes of Meghalaya could be scrapped.

Mizo National Front-led government in Mizoram has given negative comments regarding the proposed amendment of Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India. Notably BJP was MNF’s partner when it came into power.

The Sixth Schedule was brought by the Congress government to give protection to the indigenous and ethnic rights of the people of Meghalaya. The Congress party remains committed  to its ideology of respecting the rights of its ethnic brothers and sisters of Meghalaya and other Northeastern states.

BJP poses threat to the Christians & ST identity of the people of Meghalaya

“The BJP is an alliance partner in Meghalaya with NPP-led MDA government having only 2 MLAs yet they behave like they own the state. You will notice more posters and hoardings in the streets than their alliance partners. Wherever they go the BJP gobbles up the regional parties as seen in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. They do not believe in the regional aspirations of the people in the states but want to bring everyone under one umbrella of language, faith, food, dress and even colour.

Recently, Janajati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch ,an organisation backed by RSS, has demanded the removal of the Scheduled Tribe status of converted Christians. This is against the spirit of respecting the indigenous ethnic origin of the Scheduled Tribes of the North East, especially the Christian community in Meghalaya and Nagaland. It also demonstrates the compelling need of BJP to repeatedly invoke their anti-Christian mentality.  “Will the BJP let us know if they plan to implement this if they come to power in Meghalaya? he asked.

She said the BJP needs to respond to an important question as to whether the BJP will pass the the anti-conversion bill that was passed in Karnataka in 2022 .

The BJP’s demand for a uniform civil code throughout the country shows its majoritarian mindset and poses a threat to the unique cultural identity of the tribes of Meghalaya and other North East states. What is their stand with respect to Meghalaya and the other North East states that have their own unique customary laws?, she asked.

What protection and guarantee will BJP give to Meghalaya and other Christian states of North East on the increasing attacks on churches in various parts of India and that was also witnessed in Meghalaya and Assam recently, she wanted to know.

“Innocents are lynched on allegations of eating beef and transporting cattle which has become common in our country since the BJP came to power. What is the stand of BJP on these matters when it comes to Meghalaya? They are seen to have two different stands when they are in Meghalaya and other Christian states like Mizoram and Nagaland than when they are in rest of the country”, she said.

Religious profiling of Christians in neighbouring Assam is a dangerous precedence. There is no guarantee that it will not happen in Meghalaya and other Christian states, she said.

“The congress has always believed in unity in diversity. We believe that our diversity is our greatest strength. We respect the uniqueness of every state in the country. Congress believes in inclusive politics. We respect the diversity of Meghalaya as well as the entire North East with its indigenous and ethnic rights”, she said.

Our fourth estate is our pride

“Here we would also like to thank our friends from the media in Meghalaya for playing a constructive role in raising the concerns of the citizens of Meghalaya. The Congress has always believed in the freedom of press and the right to information. We brought in the Right to Information Act in 2005. We believe that a free and fair press is critical in the functioning of a democracy”, she said.

Pension for journalists 

“In the current scenario, the Fourth Pillar of our democracy has been neglected. We will reverse that trend. Substantial pensionary and other benefits for all accredited journalists, who have attained pensionable-age, will be our core commitment”, she said.

The AICC leader said the Congress party believes in the political wisdom of the people of Meghalaya.

“A politically conscious Meghalaya today understands that the Congress party is the alternative and the only alternative for the people of Meghalaya,'”she added.

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