Meghalaya: How CAA reignited the ethnic cauldron

CAA Shillong violence Meghalaya
Tribals protest in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh against SC's verdict quashing 100% reservation of ST. | Representational Photo : PTI

Dkhar in Khasi means a foreigner. But now in Meghalaya, it is often used derogatorily to refer to all non-tribals. So, in 1979 when the Khasi Students Union (KSU), inspired by the anti-foreigner agitation of All Assam Students Union (AASU), launched the Beh Dkhar (chase away foreigners) movement, the target was Bengalis, who first started settling in picturesque Shillong, which was then the capital of undivided Assam, in the late 19th century as part of the British babudom.

Ousting so-called foreigners from the hill state has been a constant demand of the indigenous tribes since then.

The Beh Dkhar agitation forced as many as 20,000 Bengalis to leave the state, according to one estimate.

Governor Tathagata Roy on Friday (March 6) claimed that the status of the non-tribals in the state was akin to that of Kashmiri Pandits in 1991 when they had to flee their home state.

To continue reading this article...

You have to be a Premium Subscriber

Start your subscription with a free trial

Enjoy unlimited Eighth column, archives and games on and and many more features.
You will also be supporting ethical and unbiased journalism.
plans start from Rs. 99
Get breaking news and latest updates from India
and around the world on