The Meghalaya People’s Labour Union (MPLU) has urged Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma to revoke the appointment of MS Rao as the new chief secretary.

The MPLU in a letter, signed by 15 of its members including the president, general secretary of the central committee, urged the CM to appoint senior-most IAS officer Hector Marwein as the new chief secretary.

The Meghalaya government recently appointed MS Rao as the new chief secretary amid controversy as the top-most IAS officer, Marweiñ, was denied appointment to the top post.

Also read: New Meghalaya chief secretary supersedes senior IAS officer

Rao, a 1987 batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, holding the post of additional chief secretary, superseded 1985 batch IAS officer Marweiñ, who is also currently holding the post of additional chief secretary.

In the letter, the MPLU said “interest of the people of Meghalaya”, Rao’s appointment be revoked and Hector Marwein be appointed “as per his right in seniority”.

The organization threatened to launch agitation if Rao’s appointment is not revoked.

“If Shri Rau’s appointment is not revoked, we will be forced to mobilise agitation by the labour forces in all areas,” the MPLU stated.

Reacting to the appointment of Rao superseding IAS officer Marwein, who is “a local Khasi tribal”, the MPLU alleged that Rao has a “track record of being anti-tribal” which came to light during the issue of the Village Administration Bill issue of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC).

“For the first time a bill of the KHADC or of any of the Autonomous District Councils was referred by the Governor of Meghalaya to the Union Home Ministry, New Delhi. This is unheard of and violates the rights guaranteed by the Constitution to us,” the letter said.

“As the senior bureaucrat in the Governor’s Secretariat at that time, Shri Rao had the opportunity to defend tribal rights and interests which he preferred not to do so. He has shown himself to be totally ignorant of or unwilling to learn our history, ethos, rights and unique position under the Constitution of India.”

“Now having been put at the helm of the state bureaucracy at a time of contentious issues like the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA), demand for implementation of the Inner Line Permit system in Meghalaya and amendment of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India, we fear for the future of the tribal people of Meghalaya,” the MPLU added.

In the wake of the protest against CAA and NRC and resolution of the Meghalaya Assembly on the implementation of ILP and the need to take up the amendment of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, the organization expressed its doubt whether “Rao will be inclined to defend the interest and priorities of Meghalaya and its people”.

“This will also ultimately create serious political and administrative problems” for the state government, it said.

Meanwhile, Marweiñ submitted a petition to the outgoing chief secretary, Parmarsan S Thangkhiew, on Monday.

Marweiñ has served for 34 years in various capacities under the state government without any blemish in his administrative record.

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