'Act Ignores Religious Diversity of Border Regions': Meghalaya Activists File PIL Against CAA

CAA attempts to create divides between the many tribal communities many of whom follow indigenous traditional belief systems, it has been alleged.

New Delhi: Activists in Meghalaya have filed a public interest litigation against the Constitution Amendment Act, arguing that the Act does not account for “the lived realities of the inhabitants of those border regions, many of whom follow indigenous religions and do not identify as being of a part of any of the six selected religious communities.”

Activists Mantre Passah and Reverend Kyrsoibor Pyrtuh filed the plea at the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the act.

The activists argue that not only does the CAA ignore those in the border regions, it also attempts to create divides between the many tribal communities. Several of them, the activists’ statement said, follow indigenous traditional belief systems, like the Niam Tynrai and the Songsarek, which do not fall under the religions enumerated in the CAA.

The act also violates the right to privacy of the refugees belonging to indigenous tribes, who follow such religions and “imposes unconstitutional conditions” on them, the activists find.

The Act would also jeopardise the lives of tribal communities and their land along the borders. It would also impact persecuted tribes in Bangladesh and Myanmar, like the Chakma, Hajong, Rabha, Khasi and Garo, it says.

“We believe that the struggle to protect our rights as tribals in India cannot be divorced from the struggles against a system which tries to create a monolithic India based on religious majoritarianism,” Passah and Pyrtuh note.