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Garo students body opposes any alteration to Job Reservation Policy, points to Census report revealing garos loss of several thousand jobs

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Tura, June 14: The Expert Committee set up to review the State Reservation Policy have been advised to maintain status quo by the central executive committee of the Garo Students Union as they cited the continued marginalization of the Garo community which had even compelled the Meghalaya High Court to intervene and order the state government to activate the roster system in job employment, after a gap of 52 long years.

In a letter to L K Diengdoh, Secretary of the Expert Committee on the State Reservation Policy, GSU CEC president Tengsak G Momin pointed out that the garo community remains marginalised to a degree in terms of opportunities to be accrued, educationally, economically and rightful adequate representation in the government services.

He reminded the committee about the report of the census on the number of state government employees taken out in 2022 that revealed a massive discrepancy in numbers with 15,157 backlog of jobs yet to be accrued by the Garos.

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Terming the demand for a review of the policy as a deliberate attempt to garner a larger share of the opportunities by the united Khasi-Jaintia tribe, that already has better access to education and economic opportunities, the Garo Students Union said that the need for clearing more than 15,000 backlogs of jobs which was the right of the Garos has taken a backseat due to potential ethnic clash and the verbal assurance of the government to correct it.

The demand for re-modification of the Job Reservation Policy 1972 is realpolitik being played out using liberal rhetoric of perceived discrimination on a community based on the ground of equal allocation because the particular state policy is grounded on equitable allocation for the general interests and benefits of the three dominant scheduled tribes with special reference to other tribes, states the GSU president.

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“Realism, as based on the above sentence, is being transformed to attempt an usher in a new order in Meghalaya; a response to the implementation of the Roster System which could be the first tranche. The prescient apprehension, if the trust between the two tribes is breeched with the modification of the state policy in question, would be the pertinent question of the Garos; what will be the second blow? Realism of equitable distribution must not differentiate between the Garos, the Khasis and the Jaintias but only as three dominant ST citizens who fought for the creation of the state and only as equal citizens that must accrue benefits to reach parity in almost all spheres,” stated Momin.

Taking a dig at the political game being played out on the issue, the student union said that, “The cry for review of the state policy is being raised not by a deprived community of the state but a political shenanigan of a political party for political expediency and gains under the willful guise of cry of inequality supposedly faced by its community disregarding Garo people’s deprivation. Therefore, the hue and cry must be taken with a pinch of salt because it is not for the general benefits of the STs in the state but directed for the benefits of some.”

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The point remains that even after the implementation of the roster system in recent govt. recruitments, for example the J.D.A recruitment, the maximum of the Garos were not recruited meaning that the adequate number of Garos as per the roster system was neglected. This has also happened many times in the past with the Garos being recruited as carried on into the next year, one year after the original year of recruitment. Now the mischievous nature of this tactic is that the Service Rules is activated which means that many Garo employees will become juniors thus impeding their right to promotions based on seniority and it is a serious implication, cautioned the union.

“The Garos also reject the premise of the review and modification of the JRP based on population demographics because the policy was based on the intention to protect and execute the rights of equitable opportunities, representations and other rights as the predicate of the policy,” he said.

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The GSU understands the importance of the reservation policy for the benefits and interest of the Garo nation and the Garo people understand the almost existential disruption of equitable representation in govt. services and the review of the 40% reservation which seeks to reduce, by curtailing through changes, by review of the JRP, the modified percentage of the reservation will be detrimental to the Garos which is a rightly derived apprehension.

Signing off, the Garo Students Union clarified that there is a unanimous decision amongst the Garos to object the review of the policy especially the 40% reservation of the Garos and by extension the 40% reservation for the Khasi-Jaintia.

“We stand committed that status quo is maintained and the JRP 1972 is not reviewed or modified,” demanded the union.

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