The State Reservation Policy (SRP) in Meghalaya has remained unchanged since its implementation in 1972, despite the changing socio-political landscape of the state. While a growing movement for the review of the reservation policy has gained momentum and garnered public support, the government of Meghalaya has chosen to remain silent and inactive on the issue. This stagnation is a cause for concern, especially when it directly affects the aspirations and future of the educated youth of the Khasi-Jaintia community.
Under the leadership of Mr. A Basaiawmoit, President of the VPP (Voice of the People’s Party) has initiated an indefinite hunger strike to demand a thorough review of the SRP. This action reflects the urgency felt by those who recognize the need for change and are willing to fight for it. However, it is disheartening to note that many regional parties, including the UDP (United Democratic Party) and the HSPDP (Hill State People’s Democratic Party) and others, who promised to include the review of the reservation policy in their election manifestos, have chosen to remain silent and have failed to live up to their commitments. This betrayal of the electorate in their constituencies is a grave injustice.
The movement for a review of the reservation policy has not been limited to politicians alone; the students of Meghalaya have also joined the cause. This collective effort showcases their awareness of the future implications and their determination to fight for equal opportunities. It raises an important question: When will the government realize the injustices perpetuated through the SRP and take meaningful steps towards rectifying them?
The current SRP allocates 40% reservation for the Garo community and 40% for the Khasi-Jaintia community, despite the fact that the population of Khasi-Jaintia far surpasses that of the Garo community. This skewed distribution of opportunities creates a sense of injustice among the educated youth of the Khasi-Jaintia community. It is essential to acknowledge that this issue is not about favoring one community over another, but rather about ensuring fair and equal opportunities for all.
Furthermore, the absence of the 36 MLAs from the Khasi-Jaintia community in actively advocating for a review of the SRP is a matter of great concern. These elected representatives hold the responsibility of serving the public and fighting for their interests. Their silence on this matter raises questions about their commitment to the “jait bynriew”. It is essential that they rise to the occasion and actively engage in addressing this long-standing issue.
It is crucial to emphasize that advocating for a review of the SRP does not imply any disregard for the rights of our Garo brothers and sisters. This movement seeks fairness and equal opportunities for all communities in Meghalaya. The aim is to ensure that meritocracy and talent prevail over archaic policies that hinder progress and perpetuate inequalities.
The time has come for the government of Meghalaya to recognize the urgent need for a review of the State Reservation Policy. It is a matter of justice and equal opportunities for the educated youth of the Khasi-Jaintia community, who should not be made sacrificial lambs for a policy that has long outlived its purpose. The government must take immediate action and initiate a transparent and inclusive process to address the concerns and demands of the people.
Meghalaya has a rich diversity that should be celebrated and cherished. By reviewing the SRP and promoting equal opportunities, the state can create an environment where every individual can thrive and contribute to.