First of all I would like to congratulate the ICARE and Shillong Press Club for organizing the discussion on superstitious belief in our society. I was watching the live telecast and I was so impressed by it. Hence, I would like to share my thoughts through your esteemed daily. Personally, I feel that what had happened in Smit should be an eye opener to all of us as to why it had occurred. Every crime committed should be dealt with according to the law. However, in my opinion it seems the Government has failed to implement the law to deal with such barbaric acts of crime on numerous occasions. We have enough laws and regulations to deal with such heinous murders. I would also like to put forward a question, “How many convictions are there in our state, whether it be murder, rape, etc?” If the law is as weak as it seems, then how do you expect people to fear the law. In this context I would like to relate an incident reported by a friend of mine. As part of an Indian delegation to Shanghai, my friend had visited the place and to his surprise, women were freely walking the streets even at 2 am in the morning. On making inquiries from the Governor of Shanghai at an official dinner, the Governor informed him that in Shanghai, “Justice is swift and it is done so in public so as create a sense of awareness to those who dare to defy the law.” No matter what you may call it, whether it is a murder because of superstitious belief or murder because of psychopathic intentions, a murder is a murder. The simplest solution to all these crimes is to set an example to all the deserving law breakers by a death penalty and I assure you, the results will unfold before you.
Running away from reality!
Please refer to Bah Phrang Roy’s letter to the editor titled, “Citizens Conclave on witchcraft”, (ST 26th Aug 2013). As an organiser of the above mentioned Conclave, I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to all those who responded to the call of the organisers. The discussions, views and confabulations in the conclave amply reflected the concern of our society on the vexed question of superstition, witchcraft, belief in black magic and the tragic and appalling consequences they have on the innocent and unwary. The price Khasis pay for superstitious beliefs is horrendous and we are concerned. The resolutions arrived at the Conclave, are the outcome of this concern and came from faith leaders, NGO representatives, Govt officials and individuals alike. These resolutions are expected to contribute immensely on how we as a society, a people and a state, plan to address the problem under discussion.
Like Bah Phrang I too am sorely disappointed with the absence of any official delegation from the Presbyterian Church, except for Rev WC Khongwir and Rev B. Nongbri who attended most probably in their individual capacity and anxiety over this burning social issue. The reluctance of the Presbyterian leadership, the shying away and the apparent unwillingness to come to grips with nasty, unpleasant ground reality is disturbing. But then perhaps they had something better to do. Perhaps the current social dilemma our community is confronted with is not grim and gruesome enough to attract the attention of this leadership. Or has the call to provide spiritual comfort and guidance been limited strictly for Sunday sermons only? Or perhaps it is the glamorous limelight of socio-political sideshows such as the RTI, demand for a Lokayukta and accompanying media coverage that has overshadowed conve-ntional Christian concern in providing succour to the poor; counselling to the tormented and leadership to a disoriented confused flock? I hope I am mistaken. I sincerely hope so!
Poor comparison, Mr Basaiawmoit!
The comparison between cases of lynching in Smit and Garo Hills by an MLA is quite unnecessary. It is illogical that since one did not condemn the lynching in Garo Hills one should not condemn the same incident in Smit. The statement also shows a lack of knowledge of the situation in Garo Hills. The situation there/here is completely different. Garo Hills is under the scourge of militancy and extortion. People are fed up with extortion. They can no longer bear it. That those who were lynched were merely suspects is not entirely true. Some were known extortionists, kidnappers and killers. They were caught red handed. Some were ex-jailbirds. Since the police are not able to deal with them so the public took the law in their own hands. While no one condones the killings one sympathises with the people of Garo Hills.
Were the Smit victim’s known ‘criminals’? Has their criminality been established beyond a reasonable doubt? Is there evidence that they killed or attempted to kill anyone? Is the situation in Smit as bad as Garo Hills? While the comparison is not between cheese and chalk it can be termed as inappropriate.