Apologies to Umtrew Dorbar


Over the weekend social media was abuzz with chatter over the “paranormal activity” story at Umtrew village. While the atheist community in Meghalaya were busy mocking journalists for having succumbed to superstitious beliefs, residents of Umtrew were flummoxed. The story of the incident also made it to the front page of the local dailies, including The Shillong Times and Mawphor.

Let’s face it! We live in a society comprising two types of people: superstitious and skeptics. One group says there is a supernatural power that runs our universe, while the other says it is the principles of science. As people stand torn between the two sides, the nongkñia ( the one who offers sacrifice) and the ‘langkñia (the sacrificial lamb) have a field day fooling believers and earning money. Throughout the ages, superstitions, irrationality and blind beliefs have always had an upper hand in the way society runs.

However, to come back to my letter ‘The Fake News Contagion’, (ST July 31, 2020) which has displeased the people of Umtrew village including house owner Lonti Jyrwa and Assistant Secretary Shnong, Plasterland Lyngdoh, I wish to apologize for being too opinionated; although my letter strictly focused on the faults and flaws of the media, apropos the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995. Provisions under this Act, and the Policy Guidelines for Uplinking of Television Channels from India, give the government the power to block the transmission of any channel in the country.

Section 20(3) of the Cable TV Act says: “Where the Central Government considers that any programme of any channel is not in conformity with the prescribed programme code referred to in section 5 or the prescribed advertisement code referred to in section 6, it may regulate or prohibit the transmission or re-transmission of such programme. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry should find that all the news channels that aired the story have clearly violated the provisions of the programme code, particularly Rules 6(1) (a), 6(1) (i) and 6(1) (o).

In the face of criticism, I have decided to forward a copy of my letter to the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry and the Inter-Ministerial Committee. A reply to the show-cause notice to be issued later is mandatory for Batesi TV, Ri Bhoi News, Ri Khasi Channel and Ïit Khmih.

Yours etc.,

Shalabas Syiemlieh

Shillong – 8

Hinduism an exclusive religion


This is in response to Pankaj Deka’s letter titled “Hinduism is all-embracing”(August 11, 2020). If Hinduism is so “embracing,” why have Hindus tortured people of their own religious group on the basis of caste since centuries! Weren’t people (including women) of “lower caste” groups prevented from covering upper bodies in Kerala which was the “sole privilege” of the “upper castes”! And village after village of “lower castes” got massacred when they revolted and asked their women to cover the upper part of their bodies!

How can we forget the dreaded practice of “untouchability” where Dalits couldn’t use ponds, wells, temples used by Brahmins and other “upper caste” groups! And those who used to differ or commit the “sin” by mistake, got thrashed to pulp or even killed! As a matter of fact this barbaric assault upon humanity which is nothing but “centuries-old legacy of Hinduism” is still alive and thriving in various states of India especially in that “laboratory of Hindutva” named Gujarat! Yes in the last few years we have read how Dalits have got beaten up for sporting a moustache, riding a horse, witnessing Dandiya show or sitting in a school chair — all in that much-hyped “modern” Gujarat! While Punjab has seen how a Dalit groom can be assaulted for proceeding to his marriage by riding a horse, we have also read how in a Karnataka village, Dalits have to go to a far-off town just for a shave or haircut as local barbers have been directed by “upper castes” not to entertain them! And what about “honour killings” whereby Hindus kill their own child or sibling if he/she dares to enter into a romantic/matrimonial bond with a person from another caste!

Do the riots-igniting Ram Rath Yatra, Babri Masjid demolition, 2002 Gujarat pogrom, murder of Mohammad Akhlaques-Junaids-Pehlu Khans-Tabrez Ansaris in the name of “Gomata”, threat of murdering intellectuals for their call for secularism and rationality, devilish joy in social media over the killing of Gouri Lankesh point to the “all-embracing” mindset of Hinduism?

What about the “glorious record” of Hinduism as far as treatment towards their women folk was concerned! Had Raja Rammohan Roy, Vidyasagar not entered the scene, many more women would have had to literally or psychologically burn in the hell of Sati, permanent widowhood or illiteracy. It is high time that instead of beating their own trumpet of “liberalism”, Hindus should take a hard look at themselves and introspect a bit.

As for the Ram Temple, no amount of rhetoric can hide the hard fact of 6th December 1992 when muscle-flexers had made a mockery of law, sanity and secular values enshrined in the Constitution marking the darkest episode in the history of independent India. Also instead of bragging “India will rule the world,” true Indians should try to uplift billions of Indians from stark poverty, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy and also improve the ranking of the nation from deep bottom in all International Indices which really matter like Human Rights, Corruption Perception, Press Freedom or in the scale of safety of women!

Yours etc.,

Kajal Chatterjee,

Via email

Unauthorised car passes


With the recent outbreak of Covid19 we have seen the serious efforts of the Government machinery to curb the surge of the virus while at the same opening up the economy so people can work and earn their livelihoods. Government has authorized the controlling officers of the different departments to issue car passes to the office employees under their control in the odd and even situation in Shillong city. But, there are some unscrupulous officers who issue car passes for their own vehicles without the signature of their Controlling Officers thereby fooling the police on duty and this has left the roads of Shillong crowded with vehicles nowadays.

  It is high time for the police on duty to be more vigilant and punish such violators as per law to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, whose owners are seemingly undeterred by the cruelty of the virus and take undue advantage without being authorized by the Controlling Officers.

Yours etc.,



Praiseworthy move

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the 2300 KM submarine Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands to the nation. This is a praiseworthy move towards Digital India. The OFC connectivity opens new opportunities for development, employment, and will boost our defense system. It indicates that the Government of India is giving priority to the progress of isolated union territories. Its welfare schemes and projects will strengthen them.

Yours etc.,

Amit Singh Kushwaha,

Satna (M.P.)

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