Candle-light vigil draws hundreds; binds region together

By Our Reporter

Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma lights a candle on the occasion. (ST)

 Shillong: Hundreds of students and well-wishers from across the city converged at Khyndailad on Thursday to take part in the candle-light vigil in memory of the two youths of the region – Dana Silva M Sangma of Meghalaya and Richard Loitam of Manipur who lost their lives in separate incidents last month.

The vigil, jointly organized by Shillong Press Club (SPC) and ICARE saw wide participation of students’ bodies of all the north eastern states based in Shillong. Others who showed solidarity with the silent memorial included chief minister Dr Mukul Sangma, Forest Minister Prestone Tynsong, Home minister HDR Lyngdoh, Power Minister AT Mondal, Mr HS Lyngdoh, besides other government officials. They participated in their individual capacities and not as VIPs.

With lighted candles and placards in their hands, participants observed a one minute silence to celebrate the lives of the two precious souls who were compelled to leave this world abruptly.

Wordings on the placards displayed mainly stressed on issue of atrocities against students from the region. Some of them read-‘We belong to one Nation, and we are the ones who brings the Parliament together’, ‘Don’t judge us by the way we look because we are Indian.’ Other placards cried out for justice for the two young lives and demanded that those responsible for their deaths be immediately arrested.

Meanwhile, other social organisations which included the KSU, FKJGP, Lympung ki Seng Kynthei (LKSK) also condoled the death of the two students (Dana and Richard) from the region, both of who died violent deaths.

“This is not the first time that such atrocities have taken place on students of the North East pursuing their studies in various parts of the country. We cannot allow our students to face this kind of treatment,” KSU general secretary Auguster Jyrwa said.

Both incidents have sparked off strong criticism from numerous quarters even as racial profiling of northeast students in mainland India has become a much talked about subject.

A visibly agitated Dr Sangma informed that he has to the chief ministers of Haryana and Karnataka requesting them “to take necessary steps to handover the respective cases of Dana and Richard to the CBI so as to ensure a free, fair and thorough investigation,” adding, “This would enable the case to be taken towards its logical conclusion.”

“We have to ensure that those guilty of the deaths of these two youths are apprehended so that they do not become perpetual offenders. It is incidental that Dana is my niece. I would have done the same if anyone else met a similar fate,” Dr Sangma said, adding that he had also met Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram in this connection.

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