Kill the racist within!
At a time when the state, country and the whole world is grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it’s disturbing to hear of a situation like the Lawsohtun assault incident. While on the one hand, we have the WHO lauding the state for it’s handling of the Covid crisis, we have incidents like these which raise serious questions about our sense of morality. Innocent youngsters, brutally attacked in the name of territorial one-upmanship, all whilst simply enjoying a game of basketball- a matter of utter shame!
We say that people from the mainland are racist towards people from the North East. And yet, when incidents like these occur in our own state, we remain silent and ignore the fact that racism begins with our own narrow-minded thoughts and actions. How are we, as a society, any different then? It is easy to pass the buck and say that we aren’t the ones who committed the crime but by being silent bystanders and not raising our voices to condemn such incidents, we become nothing but accomplices too. It would soothe our conscience, therefore, to speak up for justice, or else, wouldn’t we dread sending our youngsters out on their own for fear of a backlash?
Such incidents overshadow all the good which took place at the start of the pandemic when all communities joined hands to fight against this invisible enemy. One can only hope that the culprits are brought to book and such situations never happen again.
Our local representatives and the police should go all out to nab those guilty so that our society can thus return to a semblance of sanity and safety in this “new normal ” world. As for us, members of the society, it’s time to wake up from our apathy and take a stand against such evils; it’s time that we act instead of merely being propagators of empty words; it’s time that we look at ourselves first and kill the racist within!
Enough of targeted violence
Apropos the news item, “Lawsohtun violence leaves five basketball players injured” (ST July 4, 2020) what happened on July 3, 2020 at around 12:30 pm where some local non indigenous/non- tribal boys playing basketball at Block VI were brutally assaulted with lethal weapons by a group of 20 miscreants with masks on is condemnable. Such inhuman acts deserve stern legal punishment for the criminals. From the incident, it is very clear that it was a planned attack as the local non-tribal boys who were regularly visiting the basketball court at Lawsohtun were first caged by the group of miscreants and then brutally assaulted. Also no reports of any injury are reported from the side of the assaulters, indicating it was a one sided attack.
This is not the first time that the local non- tribal population is being attacked. Time and again such incidents are being reported since decades without much action being taken against the assaulters by the concerned authority. These sections of local non-tribal population have been part and parcel of our state of Meghalaya even before it attained statehood. Indeed, much sacrifice has been made by those sections of the population during our united fight for statehood. After much struggle and demonstration, Meghalaya became a state in 1972 and the said section of population have contributed for the welfare of the state in different fields from Agriculture to Industry, Education to Administration and so on. Various education and medical institutions which are functional till date were established by the local non-tribal/non- indigenous population of the State and their contribution for the well being of Meghalaya cannot be overlooked.
I earnestly request the Government of Meghalaya and the Police Force in the State to look after the sorry plight of the said population. Indeed, it is very strange to see that Dr Rajdeep Roy ,MP of Silchar had quickly condemned the incident of attack on the five young boys at Lawsohtun but it took one whole day for our Hon’ble CM to condemn such an inhuman act.
The silence of our elected MPs and MLAs does not surprise us. In fact every section of the society must condemn such brutal assaults because no community teaches one to harm others. Such attacks on innocent people without any reason are one of the main factors for the decline of the local non- indigenous population in Meghalaya. The Times of India, of September 7, 2012 reported a drastic fall in Meghalaya’s local non- indigenous population. In 1972 the tribal to non-tribal ratio was 80:20 which now stands at 90:10. Is this not an issue that the Government must introspect about? Why the drastic decline in local non- indigenous population over the last 48 years? Such situations in our State might have instigated the Hon’ble Governor of Meghalaya to compare the situation of non-tribals with those of Kashmiri Pandits!
Anil Singh Roka