IN LETTER & SPIRIT

To Sunday Shillong,

This is in reference to the essay, ‘True justice’, which was published in the December 29 edition. It is really commendable that a student of Class XII has deeply thought about the problem and strongly feels for justice for women who have been victims of sexual harassment of all forms. The essay shows that the writer follows daily news and is aware of the social menace. However, I would strongly defer from her view that the encounter of the accused in the Hyderabad rape case was the right way of justice and that human rights activists are wrong in opposing it.
Encounter is the easiest way to end a case. Police in this case did not have to use their time and energy to charge sheet the accused. They became heroes by killing the rapists. But did the rape victim get justice? No. The accused men did not go through rigorous imprisonment. They did not suffer as much they should. Death was an easy escape for them. If the police were so concerned about delivering justice to the victim, who was gang raped and burnt alive, then they should have made it a point that their investigation was so strong and fool-proof that the accused would get life term.
Another reason why I do not agree with such drastic method of delivering justice was that our country has laws. If we cannot follow them, then why have them? If justice is delayed, then it is the problem of the system and people should raise their voices against that instead of revelling in the killings of the accused. If encounter is the precedent, then it is something that we should be scared of. Imagine a Kashmiri youth being picked up for alleged terrorism. He might be innocent but the police can always put a tag on him and kill him in an encounter. Will you call it justice? I hope not. These kind of police excesses are common in all conflict zones, whether it is Kashmir or Chhattisgarh.
If encounter is how we want to give justice to all those women who are victims of the heinous crime then those who are lauding the Hyderabad police force should also demand similar encounters in high profile cases where people like Asharam Bapu and Kuldip Singh Sengar are involved. What about Julius Dorphang in Meghalaya who raped a minor girl several times? Should we not demand his encounter?
It is easier to kill an accused who does not have political connections or money power. But the same police force will dare not touch a politician, a businessman or a godman who is accused in a rape case. Then why choose encounter?
Human rights are for every human being, be a criminal or a law-abiding citizen. We cannot violate laws and those who do should be punished following a legal method. We also cannot support violation of laws. Rather, we should demand that police in every state work efficiently to fast-track cases and courts should take them up according to the gravity of the cases.

Thanking you
Nazreen Ahmed

To Sunday Shillong,

This is in reference to the article, ‘Inner strength’, which was published in the December 29 edition. Congratulations to Donbor Rumnong who has not only made a name for himself but also made his state proud. But it is sad to know that despite his talent and achievements, there was no help from the government. It is not just bodybuilding but many sportspersons in the state do not get any support from the government. They have to shell out from their pocket to participate in national and international events. As sponsors are hard to get, it often becomes difficult for these sportspersons to survive.
The Sports Department should understand that by helping these struggling sportspersons from various disciplines will only help the state progress in terms of sports. It is the department’s duty to promote these talents, especially when Meghalaya is hosting the National Games in 2022. If it cannot take care of its own sportspersons, what right does the state have to host such an event?

Thanking you
Gavin Kharshandy

To Sunday Shillong,

This is in reference to the article, ‘Whole new planet’, published on December 15. Meghalaya’s natural abundance and forest resources are aplenty. The forests of Meghalaya have innumerable medicinal herbs, mushrooms and edible plants. But only a few people know about these as there is no proper documentation. The documentary, Planet Fungi, is a wonderful initiative to explore the state’s wilderness and document it for generations to come.
The team of documentary makers found so many varieties of mushrooms in Meghalaya and some of them are new species with high market value. The government should take note of this and make farmers aware of these species and their market value. It should also run awareness programmes for preservation and protection of these rare species. Proper policies should be put in place for trade in mushroom. The government should also rope in wildlife experts and researchers for promotion of mushrooms, which have the potential to provide an alternate livelihood.

Thanking you
SW Swer

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