Enemies of civilisation

What happened at Umoid, South West Khasi Hills on the night of February 24 is a heinous, pre-meditated crime that reeks of hatred and revenge. The labourers who came to the district for construction work from the neighbouring state of Assam have all the necessary documents. If at all the local people are aggrieved about non-locals being employed they should take the matter up with the contractor. To injure and kill innocent labourers who are here to earn a livelihood with the sweat of their brow and not by engaging in any illegal activity is a crime that must be investigated and the perpetrators must be booked and convicted. Indeed, the problem with several such crimes in Meghalaya is that the investigation is invariably shoddy and the evidence-gathering for piecing together the events is full of gaping holes and collapses like a pack of cards when it comes before the courts. A good criminal lawyer for the defence will make the case look so bad that the person who died and others like him who have been attacked and killed in the past would appear that they died of their own carelessness without anyone attacking them. What else can be expected from a police force that is not held accountable by the state and citizenry?

What is a matter of grief is that the labourers were involved in construction work in the College run by the Jesuit priests who are the intellectual repository of the Catholic Church. Their objective has always been to spread the light of education and critical thinking which the people of South West Khasi Hills would have benefitted greatly from.  Well, it would appear that a section of the people of the District and more specifically Umoid, are against the idea of progress and civilization. They want to keep people in the dark so that they continue to remain unquestioning and so that those with evil intentions continue to rule the roost. Now that the college is closed indefinitely, it remains to be seen how the problem is resolved and whether the State Government gets its act together and puts pressure on the police to perform. Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma has termed the attackers as “criminals” and “murderers” and said that he would ensure they are arrested. All right thinking people too would want the rule of law to prevail in this State. But such incidents tend to recede into the back-burner once the heat is over. It is important that this incident and similar ones where people have been brutally murdered are brought to a close. Let justice prevail.

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