The communal face of the HNLC has finally been exposed this time. There was absolutely no call for a bandh to disrupt the Pujas. No doubt people have died in Jaintia hills from an alleged police firing, but doubts are emerging everyday about the authenticity of this allegation. If therefore doubts exist why call a bandh in protest? There was no justification for the bandh call except to disturb the Pujas and therefore this communal action by this bunch of criminals and outlaws should be soundly condemned by one and all.
An emerging positive trend is the adverse public reaction to this bandh call by the HNLC. People are now starting to challenge and question the unjustified and ridiculous diktats of the HNLC. It is hoped that this trend increases and continues so as to show these cowards that threats from hidden camps across the border can no longer intimidate the people. Of concern however is the servile and slavish mentality of Political parties and politically oriented NGOs to the HNLC. What was the need to plead for withdrawal of the bandh? A more appropriate reaction from politicians and public leaders would have been a demand to the Govt to go all out against such bandits and thugs.
But then one also has to consider the bend of mind of a desperate and cornered Chief Minister of Meghalaya. The poor man has been continuously on the defensive against his own colleagues who were all out to dethrone him. What other option for a desperate politician with his back to the wall but to create an alliance, even with enemies of the country, to save his own skin. Dr Mukul Sangma has offered to forgive and forget the HNLC. He wants to bring these murderers, without the benefit of a trial, back to social circulation. Will they then be given Congress tickets for the next MLA elections? Will Sainkupar Nongtraw and Bobby Marwein be our next cabinet ministers? Will they then form the Praetorian Guard to protect Dr Mukul for future attacks? Dear Dr Mukul, all of us are not fools you know!
Religious tolerance imperative
Kudos to the East Khasi Hills District Administration for the smooth conduct of the recent Durga Puja Festival in the city. The HNLC had given a 24 our bandh call on October 1st to protest the police firing in East Jaintia Hills which resulted in the death of two innocent people, and to protest against the mysterious killing of a young student at Bangalore. We were very tense about this bandh call in the middle of the Puja celebration. The protest is genuine but it could have been called earlier without disrupting the religious festival of a particular community. Moreover, since 1979, it had been a common practice in Shillong to disrupt Durga Puja every year by calling bandhs, road blockades and the violation of which resulted in mishaps. Even curfew had to be imposed by the Government of Meghalaya to control the situation. People could not really enjoy Puja; only the rituals were observed. However, it is a fact that the majority of the indigenous people of Meghalaya did not support the disruptions during Puja. Rather they prayed for peace and normalcy. In 1992 , after a very critical situation during Durga Puja, the Central Puja Committee was formed in Shillong, with a number of prominent personalities from different communities to bring peace and harmony during Puja. The objective was achieved. Till date the CPC is very active, and for the last couple of years, Durga Puja and other religious festivals are observed in Meghalaya without any disruptions. But this year the bandh call of th HNLC during Durga Puja, revived the old, bitter memories and created panic. But the Government tackled the situation very efficiently, and Puja went on very smoothly.
.The media plays an important role in such tense situations. Some media are provocativein reporting about bandhs, which is harmful. My sincerest kudos goes to the editor of this newspaper for presenting a bold and appropriate editorial on 1st October,2014,’ Why a bandh during Durga Puja’, which no doubt helped to mobilize public opinion against the bandh to disrupt Puja. Religious tolerance is imperative in a secular state like India.