Shillong, Aug 22: The Hynniewtrep Integrated Territorial Organisation (HITO) has expressed dismay over the stand of home minister Lahkmen Rymbui and the MDA regarding the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement (IO & AA).
In a statement issued on Sunday, HITO said the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), after a detailed hearing on April 26, 2012, had officially accepted the constitutional anomaly and issued a directive upholding the instrument of accession & annexed agreement of the Khasi states.
“We recall that this was also followed with personal official letters from the Chairperson of the NCST to the Union Home Minister to incorporate the treaty agreement within the Constitution of India”.
He said the stand of MDA contradicts all such directives of the constitutional body like the NCST.
It exposes that MHA and the state home minister are not knowing what the left and the right hand is doing.
HITO said at the dawn of Independence, a conditional instrument of accession and annexed agreement was accepted and signed by C Rajagopalachari, Governor General of India, and the twenty five Khasi states individually and collectively known as the Federation of Khasi States on August 17, 1948.
“Prior to this, it is a public knowledge that the Government of India had asked the Khasi chiefs to also sign the standstill arrangement on August 9, 1947 after a new accession agreement with Governor of Assam on 16 July 1947 that the conditional IOA & AA would be for a period of two years only until new arrangements are further discussed between the respective signatories.
However the words “for a period of two years” were unilaterally removed by the Centre from the IOA & AA of 15 December 1947.
Subsequently during the third reading, the Centre was misled and it betrayed the Khasi States and this forceful amended IOA & AA till date has not yet been placed in a special 370A article within the Constitution of India which is violating all UN conventions on human rights.
HITO asked the MDA functionaries to check with law department and read history before making statements and know that the IOA & AA of the twenty five Khasi states individually and as Federation of Khasi states was officially placed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Deputy Prime Minister through a “White Paper on Indian states 1950” in the Parliament (Constituent Assembly) during 1949 and 1950.
The HITO wanted to know from Lahkmen Rymbui and the chief minister whether they are aware that the Khasi people even when facing the barrel of the gun refused to sign the instrument of merger (Wicklife Syiem and incidents at Nongstoin state during March 1948) and accepted only the conditional IOA & AA for a period of two years which was subsequently changed and accepted and signed by Rajagopalachari.
The demands for the implement of the conditional IOA & AA was made not only by the HNLC but by many organisations such as the Federation of Khasi State (FKS), HITO, Hynñiewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF) Hynñiewtrep Youth Council (HYC), SOMALA, and archival records reveal similar demands in the joint manifesto of the regional parties under the banner of RPA (UDP, HSPDP, KHNAM, and MDP) during the Lok Sabha polls in 2004. Ironically, the BJP policy for Meghalaya in 1997 promised to respect and implement the agreement with the Khasi rulers. Even the father of the present Chief Minister late PA Sangma, former Speaker Lok Sabha Speaker during his meeting with the Khasi state rulers during 1999-2000 had stated that the “instrument of accession must be honoured” by the Centre.
“We also recall late BB Lyngdoh, former Chief Minister also stating that while all princely states were all merged and abolished themselves, the Federation of Khasi states refused to merge and acceded through a special treaty and hence stated that the ” Khasi states are alive” and a host of other prominent leaders.
According to the HITO, it is not the Centre but the MDA-led NPP which included the UDP, PDF, HSPDP, KHNAM, NCP, BJP, and independents are refusing to discuss and accept the IOA and the rejection of the motion and resolution moved by Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh during 2019 in the Assembly speaks volumes on their sincerity towards protection of the Hynniewtrep people.
HITO asked Rymbui to understand the anomaly that exists in the Constitution of India wherein the words “Khasi states” find mention in the First Schedule.