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I would like to offer my reactions to the letter “Lest We Forget” by Melamshwa Allya (ST Feb 23, 2016). I agree with the author when he says that brave and selfless policemen must be applauded for good work by the community at large. Honest policemen rendering yeoman service, whether it be a beat policeman on his daily rounds, or a traffic constable sweating it out at a traffic signal, or a senior officer formulating rational but humane policies – all deserve encouragement and greater recognition by the community. However, while doing so, it is equally important to note that honest policemen rendering yeoman service is a rarity these days. No doubt there exists a handful that fit the bill but they are a dying breed, soon to be replaced by politically-savvy recruits. The modern policeman on our streets is a complex animal, with a keen sense of self-preservation above all else.
This is truer of the officer ranks than the lower ranks, as they are frequently called upon to satisfy the whims and fancies of their political masters. Quite often these policemen are required to circumvent the law to remain in the good books of the all-powerful politicians. An excellent example in recent memory is the fiasco surrounding the Chief Minister’s ‘accident’ wherein the cops became a laughingstock owing to their gung-ho attitude and misplaced sense of duty.
The policemen, notably the SP Traffic-in-charge, first slapped attempted murder charges against the hapless Sumo driver (a shamelessly groveling attempt to placate the Chief Minister, no doubt) and later withdrew the charges when faced with condemnation from all sections of society. That a minor accident (albeit involving the alwaysin-a-tearing-hurry CM ) can provoke 9/11 like reactions from our local policemen is ironic but hardly surprising. Just out of curiosity, can the traffic cops tell us at what speed the Chief Minister’s car was moving when it dashed into the Sumo? VIP culture is firmly rooted in the minds of our policemen whose sense of duty only stretches as far as protecting the rich political and bureaucratic classes and now the High Court judges. The common man only figures in the whole equation by ‘accident’, pun intended.
I could go on and on, ticking off my list of astronomical blunders, crimes and coverups by local policemen including staged encounters, cold-blooded murders, gross corruption (remember the traffic signal lights which never worked but which have now been uprooted and wiped from public memory?), extortion at check gates, turning a blind eye to ethnic violence, headline-hunting moral policing, etc, etc. Therefore, let’s not go overboard in our praise just yet, especially when serious questions are still being asked every single day (but remain studiously ignored by their PR machinery) of our police force. As things stand, Meghalaya Police is in danger of being renamed as ‘VIP Police’ – this is how they are viewed by ordinary folks. Policemen have been operating with impunity and without real accountability in our State for far too long.
Sec-19, Noida, U.P.
Red beacons on private vehicles
It is disgusting that despite the Supreme Court order prohibiting the use of red beacons on private vehicles the situation here in Meghalaya has not changed. Even though the use of sirens and flashers are restricted to certain category of persons and emergency vehicles, the state Home Department officials do not seem bothered to take corrective measures and so also are the police authorities who are often at the beck and call of the influential class. The use of red beacons on private cars is being abused and blatantly displayed not only by relatives of MLAs and parliamentary secretaries but by unknown people with so-called connections. Readers need not shy away from reality for the fact is such culture is so prevalent among a certain elite that crave attention and love to wear their position on their sleeves. It is the duty of the state home department to take a serious note of such wanton violations lest it embarrasses the State Government should some citizen approach a Court of law. This would make the Government a laughing stock in the entire country.
Dominic S. Wankhar
Meghalaya – A state sans political will
Meghalaya is presently in a very deplorable condition. The CM has just presented a highly deficit budget. This just proves that our State is a backtracking state which has lost all of its former luster and fame. Poverty is still a haunt ing reality in the state and it looks like development and prosperity have long ago bypassed us. The eye-catching display of wealth and prosperity in the city of Shillong (by this I mean the mushrooming hi-fi private buildings, shopping malls, expensive residences of government officials, growth of automobiles etc), hide a miserable picture of the actual reality. The suburbs of Shillong and the rural areas present a completely contrasting picture.
The VIP roads in the city are being blacktopped every year while there are villages who could never dream of a blacktopped road, nay, not even a motorable road. The Meghalaya Government is definitely against rural development. I have learnt from reliable sources that many projects for rural development, some from the government departments and other of the NGOs which are to be sent to the Central Government are pending in the government office while projects from other states have long ago reached the central government offices and they are now receiving government funds. Our leaders who pledge to be working for development of the poor, are sitting over these projects. Perhaps they are still contemplating ways and means to get something out of these projects before they send them to New Delhi. Unfortunately, it is already too late for the financial year is closing. This is how development is being stalled from year to year due to a lack of political will and the inactivity of those at the helm of affairs. This is the sorry state we have come to and I wonder what our representatives are doing in the assembly.
Are they voicing these concerns of the poor people or are they conspiring with the corrupt leaders? I think Meghalaya deserves a better government than the one we have now. Our people are too pacific and too patient. There are hardly any dissenting voices against the many irregularities and unjust practices like unreasonable price hikes, frequent power cuts, corruption etc. Perhaps this is our weakness which has been exploited fully by our politicians and bureaucrats. God save our beautiful State!
Barnes Mawrie sdb,