IANS Interview : UCC will affect Meghalaya’s unique matrilineal society, says Cong MP Vincent Pala

Insight Online News

Shillong, April 16 : The introduction of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country, as promised by the BJP in its election manifesto, will affect the matrilineal social structure in Meghalaya, claimed Congress MP Vincent Pala, who is seeking re-election from the Shillong Lok Sabha seat.

In an interview with IANS here, he said Meghalaya’s culture is different from the rest of the country, where women have a dominant role in society.

“We have separate structures for marriage, divorce, etc. In this way, the Christian system is very different from Hinduism. But if the Central government implements a uniform civil code throughout the country, then Meghalaya will definitely face issues in the coming days,” Pala said.

He also mentioned that the hill state of the northeast may witness strong resistance from its society against the Uniform Civil Code (UCC).

The Congress MP, however, turned down the chances of any protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Meghalaya.

“CAA was implemented in the whole country after it was passed in Parliament. Although the major portion of Meghalaya is excluded from the CAA, I believe that once a law is passed in Parliament and implemented, there is no point in talking about it,” he said.

On whether the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system should be introduced in Meghalaya, Pala reacted, “The Central government has not said anything about the ILP in Meghalaya. The state government is not authorised to introduce this system. So, we have to wait for the Centre’s take on ILP.”

The Congress MP termed the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) as corrupt and had looted the government money.

He alleged, “NPP has siphoned off the public money from Meghalaya to fund the party in other states of the northeast like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, etc. People have seen that cash was seized from Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma’s convoy. This is proof of how the NPP has been using government funds to expand their party base, which is very unfortunate.”

Pala also said that there are check gates in the state, and money is being collected if people are either taking or bringing any goods to the state.

“If you buy something in Meghalaya and take it to Assam and other places, you have to pay money at those gates. Even if you are bringing any goods to Meghalaya, the same system of paying money must be followed. This is a pure example of corruption,” he argued.

Vincent Pala has been winning the Shillong Lok Sabha seat since 2009. He was made a Union Minister of State during the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government at the Centre. The Congress leader is looking for a straight fourth-time win in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

Political watchers believe that anti-incumbency will be a factor against Pala this time. However, he dismissed the factor, saying that this would not be a big issue in the election.

“People have seen my development work through the years. The current dispensation in Meghalaya has failed to bring any infrastructural push to the state. But during the Congress period, airports and many other projects were built,” Shillong MP said.

Pala also said that if he is voted to power for the fourth time, he will take new initiatives to bring infrastructural projects to the state along with the development of tourism.

Polling for two Lok Sabha seats in Meghalaya will take place on April 19. The NPP has fielded state Health Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh against Vincent Pala in the Shillong Lok Sabha seat.

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