My attention has been drawn to the article written by HH Mohrmen, titled, “Myth, superstition or reality'( ST Aug 26, 2013) in which he tried to insinuate that I attempted to justify the killing of three persons at Smit. In order to remove all doubts from the minds of the people and all those who read this paper, I would like to clarify as follows:
Firstly, in my letter to the Home minister I had not in any way endorsed the killing of those three persons at Smit and I will never under any circumstances subscribe to the killing of innocent human beings. The slaying of people by a mob at Smit is not a case in isolation. There have been numerous instances where many youths in Garo hills were lynched to death recently by a mob on mere suspicion that they were militants. To my surprise there was no condemnation whatsoever from any quarter. Does it mean that killing of persons suspected to be militants is lawful? Does that not sound to be hypocritical? If we are expected not to be biased we would have also condemned even the killing of those youths by the public. It is also very important for people to be able to read between the lines in connection with the letter I had written to the Home Minister.
Secondly, I also fail to understand why people expected me only to condemn that incident. I thought they would have expected me to offer solution to this problem which is deeply ingrained in the minds of the people since time immemorial. Can we consider that mere condemnation is a solution to the problem? I am of the view that an attempt to wean away people from superstitious beliefs does not end with condemnation only. It requires a sustainable effort of counselling and education on the adverse impact of superstitious beliefs on the society. Whether to believe or not to believe in superstitions is still debatable. However, the issue here is about allowing the law to take its own course and discouraging the practice of Kangaroo courts by people.
Thirdly, a demand for a thorough investigation into many mysterious deaths that took place at Smit did not at all suggest that I agree with such gruesome murders. In fact it should be seen as my eagerness to go into the roots of the problem. We may condemn the killing of those three persons at Smit, however we cannot also lose sight to what had happened in the recent past where as many as five persons died in a very strange manner. I strongly feel that those who lost their lives under similar and suspicious circumstances deserve justice to be done for them too.
In conclusion I would like to mention here that this incident has not only put the Khasi-Pnar at the crossroads but also the Khasi-Khynriam, the Khasi-War, the Khasi-Bhoi, the Khasi-Lyngam and all the Khasis as well. Moreover, as a responsible public representative I will do only what I feel is right not what people want me to do.
Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit,
ILP- another view
I must congratulate your paper which is the only paper that provides mixed opinions on important issues affecting the society. I have experienced that local language news papers are interested only in one sided criticisms.
Referring to the article of Mr Morhmen (ST Aug 19, 2013) I would like to supplement here that the Bengal Regulation on Inner line was enacted by the British during the 19th century where the rulers felt that it was not safe for outsiders to enter into the tribal areas of the North Eastern part of India because those days natives were considered ‘savages’ by the British since many of them were head hunters. The writer of the pro ILP propaganda should study deeper into the logic behind the ILP. Now we are in the 21st century; we want to cope with the fast growing world; we know how to progress and protect ourselves, so where is the need for such an outdated law?
These days even with out ILP the road from Khanapara to Jorabat is clogged with traffic. Imagine what would happen if you have you have the ILP. Gates will be erected, say at Khanapara or Jorabat. All vehicles will have to stop, get themselves registered to obtain the permits. In the process hundreds of vehicles will be stranded along the National Highway affecting normal life in the Assam portion. There will be chaos in the area. Same will be the case at Umkiang and other entrances to Meghalaya. Do you think Assam will keep quiet and be an onlooker to the situation? Will they also not reciprocate to arm twists us for our selfishness?
Many self centered characters including NGOs will mint money out of the permits like what the RBYF has been doing at the Umling weigh bridge, but the ultimate harassment will be to the common man.
Therefore, I would request all right thinking citizens not to support introduction of the ILP with out going deep into its implications. More consultations and studies have to be done on this crucial issue. The Government should not act in haste and succumb to the pressure of the NGOs otherwise our state will have to suffer irreparable losses.
Changing mindsets about water
In his article “Who will keep our rivers and lakes from running dry”(ST 21st August 2013) Bah Phrang Roy in an ending note stated that it is hoped that one day water will be everyone ‘s business. I do agree and also hope that this will come true. The conventional attitude where water is regarded as a free commodity to be used and squandered at will should be changed. It will be necessary to motivate people and make endeavours to effect a mind-shift towards proper utilization and conservation of water. While the State has an obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the fundamental right of all to safe drinking water, the people themselves must play a more active role. For this, there is a need for social mobilization and community empowerment so that communities have rights over the resources that they regenerate and manage. An enabling environment for water management would mean decentralization and community empowerment and laws that promote both. Local institutions could offer a platform to bring this about particularly as water is also a social platform that brings about significant social change and betterment of the people
While water is a renewable resource, it is at the same time a finite resource and vulnerable to loss and depletion. It is neither always available perennially nor it is available everywhere. There is a growing realization that there are limits to finding more water. It is important to appreciate the fact that only 3 per cent of the world’s water is fresh of which roughly one third is inaccessible while the rest is unevenly distributed. The water wealth of Meghalaya therefore deserves special and focused attention. Hydrological advantage on one hand and deficiency on the other for lack of proper management should not be allowed to co-exist. Proper utilization and management of this vital natural resource could radically improve the social, economical and environmental health of Meghalaya. As reflected in the article, the Meghalaya Water Foundation’s novel initiatives and appropriate plan of approach towards achieving the goal of protecting and conserving our water resources seems encouraging. No doubt the journey is long and arduous and the challenges are many especially if the approach is to be inclusive. It is hoped, however, that the Foundation will persist and succeed in its endeavour so that our lakes and rivers do not ever have to run dry for perpetuity .