Let’s bring back communal harmony
The recent flare-up in Shillong emanating from a street brawl is a matter of grave concern to all the peace loving citizens. The unfortunate turn of events along communal lines is highly condemnable. In every society there is possibility of some skirmishes between majority and minority communities but such incidents should not be made an occasion to demonize the entire minority community. It is the responsibility of majority community to handle such situations in a mature way in co-ordination with law enforcing agencies to bring the actual culprits to book and also to ensure that no innocent person from the minority community is subjected to violence, intimidation and threat. Minority community is always in need of protection by the majority community as has been the tradition of this great country. The tribal people of Meghalaya are enjoying constitutional protection like 6th schedule etc given by the majority community of India. The majority community of India thought it right to give special protections to the tribal so that their rights and privileges are protected. In a similar manner, it is incumbent on the majority community of Meghalaya to protect the depleting minority community of the state by enacting suitable laws. I do not think since formation of the state whether any specific scheme/law has been made to protect the minorities.
Minorities who are settled in Meghalaya for generations had not come here on their own volition. Ethnic communities who are referred to as non tribals have been brought here by the British for various purposes and the minority community who is in the eye of the storm is no exception. I have not found any single non-tribal person who has come voluntarily from any other part of our country to settle in Shillong. It is an established fact that persons always migrate from a less developed area to a more developed area and not the other way round. After independence, at no point of time has there been any inflow of non tribals to Shillong to settle here permanently. Rather, there is steady ‘out flux’ of non tribals from the state to other parts of the country. It is unfortunate that some NGOs of the state are openly branding the community who is now at the receiving end as “illegal settlers and criminals”. I urge upon them to read history and ponder over the contribution of this particular community in the overall well being of the city.
I sincerely hope that the right thinking populace of majority community will rise to the occasion and not allow the so called NGOs to fan communal passions and highjack the present situation to their advantage and take effective and concrete steps to protect the minority communities of the state. Similarly, I urge the legislators to start discussions with the minority communities for enacting suitable laws to protect them in the same manner that the majority community of the state is being protected under the Constitution of India.
N K Kehar
OBSERVANCE OF WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY IN SHILLONG
I am sure that many people who pass through Jeep Stand (Outskirts of Barabazar) must have observed the roadside vendors selling heaps of raw tobacco leaves and tobacco flakes with impunity. There are two three such vendors in Barabazar in the last row of shops. I do not think the tobacco products sold by these local vendors, who require no trading license, do not contain the poisonous substance nicotine. I wonder why no authority so far has taken notice of this fact and why nothing is done to curb this menace. This could be one of the contributing factors for Meghalaya to rank third among cancer stricken states in India.
On 31 May 2018 after going through your editorial on World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) and also Dr. Caleb Harris’s write – up entitled ‘Tobacco Breaks Hearts’ I purposely visited Jeep Stand. I was thinking at least on this Day some authority or NGO must have intervened and stopped these roadside vendors from selling their tobacco products. But no, I actually counted twelve such vendors selling heaps of tobacco right on the footpath, all within a span of about 50 meters of each other. It was the same in Barabazar too, where I saw two shop keepers selling tobacco in the open. Oh! What a mockery of WNTD.
I request our Health Department particularly the minister in charge, who hails from Shillong, to take notice of the above fact. Otherwise our intended pledge ‘Choose Health, not Tobacco’ will just be on paper and items discussed on our local TV Channels.
Shillong – 2
Shillong running dry
Severe water scarcity is inevitable in the slowmoving bus of development. Regardless of the prodigious amount of rainfall which enables us to celebrate Cherrapunji as well as Shillong as one of the wettest places on earth, these two places face a severe water crisis.
The absence of water conservation practices, lack of proper storage infrastructure, sketchy implementation of rainwater harvesting systems, and unplanned use of this indispensable natural Letters to the Editor must have the full name, address and contact number of the writer, even if they are sent by email. Only letters with the requisite details will be published. resource has been consistently threatening us. This high population growth and deforestation are other concerning factors which affect the availability of water. An example of one such situation is the ongoing water crisis in one of India’s favourite tourist destinations, Shimla.
The scarcity of water in Himachal Pradesh has become a catastrophe for its booming tourism industry. In places like Shillong with hilly topography, most of the rain water flows down the hilly terrains to the flatlands since there is scarcely any endeavour to restrict such callous waste of an invaluable blessing of nature. It is high time we adopt remedial measures to achieve adequate levels of water security considering we are a state of such high rainfall..
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