Violating the laws, rich landlords and corrupt officials continue to dupe poor families in Meghalaya.
According to the existing Land transfer Act’1971 in Meghalaya, the non-tribal communities are barred from acquiring land in the Sixth Schedule areas under the control of the three autonomous district councils. The law however, allows any member of the 17 tribal communities found in the State Schedule Tribe list to buy or sell land anywhere in the State.
Despite the clear law on land acquisition, there are widespread cases of non-tribals buying land in Meghalaya and then forcibly evicted from that land for which they not just paid the price of the land, but also the taxes.
The family in the video has been a victim of dual evils: Flood and corruption. First they were forced to leave their land in Assam as flood washed it away. Then, after being legal owners for 25 years, they are now forced to be refugees again by the police, though they have a valid voting ID card and other documents.
Aleya Akhtara Bgeum, our correspondent belongs to a ethnic and lingual minority community. According to Aleya, despite the state of Meghalaya, zealously safeguard the interests of indigenous communities, it often fails to protect the minority groups and overlooks when these groups fall prey to corrupt officials and greedy landlords.
Village heads who collect land tax from non-tribal communities and issue legal documents are never punished. Land owners who sold the land in violation of the existing law also get away scot-free, but the poor families are thrown on street without any compensation or rehabilitation package.