Include Garo, Khasi in Constitution's 8th Schedule, Sangma urges President
Guwahati, May 4 (IANS) Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Wednesday said that language defines the identity of a tribe as he urged the President Ram Nath Kovind to include the Garo and Khasi language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.
Addressing the valedictory function of the 61st annual conference of the Bodo Sahitya Sabha (BSS) in Assam's Tamulpur, Sangma said that there are similarities between Garo and Bodo languages.
"I strongly feel that inclusion of languages of different tribes and different communities in the constitution would only lead to a stronger integration of this very diverse but great nation of us," he said.
President Kovind was the chief guest in the BSS meet while Assam Chief Ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma and Sikkim's Prem Singh Tamang, among other dignitaries, also spoke in the regional language literary meet.
Noting the Meghalaya Language Act, 2005 recognises Khasi and Garo as the states associate official languages, Sangma urged the President to support the aspiration of the northeast's people and to ensure that languages from the region are included in the Eighth Schedule to protect and promote the language and identity of the people.
"Not just Garo and Khasi but all the different communities and tribes and their languages in the northeast are different. They may be small but their identity comes from the language and the culture that they have," Sangma added.
Recalling his father P.A. Sangma, he said that P.A.Sangma was somebody who had a great affinity for the poor and when he was an MP, when Bodoland was undergoing through many issues, he raised his voice for the Bodos and Bodoland in the Parliament.
"Your (President) presence in a programme like this is not just an inspiration to the people of Bodo areas, but it shows your concern and your respect for all the tribes of the northeast," Sangma said.
Praising the President for his frequent visits to the northeast, Sangma said that this sent a very powerful message to the people of NE that every single community is important.