Crime against women escalate

Law and order under the MDA Government has touched its nadir. In three months there have been three brutal murders of whom two are school going girls and the third whose half-naked body was found on Sunday being a young mother with an 8-month old infant. While one suspect has been arrested in the recent murder, the killers of the other two remain unknown. Jaintia Hills has become the epicentre of crime against women. For a region that is steeped in criminal activities such as illegal rat-hole mining and transportation of coal for well over six years since the NGT ban on coal mining in April 2014, the rise in crime is not surprising. On and off some FIRs are filed against trucks transporting coal illegally but those cases never result in charge-sheets or conviction. Everything remains a mirage that is soon forgotten. There is no one to hold the Police accountable. The Home Minister takes shelter in excuses and the public are apathetic. Those murdered come from families that have no clout and have to resign to their fates. A one-off protest by school students will hardly make a dent. Clearly Meghalaya has reached a point where criminals have the upper hand. They are not arrested and if arrested are let out on bail for want of evidence. Police investigation continues to remain shoddy.

Take the case of the murderous assault on activists Agnes Kharshiing and Amita Sangma in November 2018. One suspect who was arrested is out on bail. He is also a prominent member of the NPP – the political party that leads the present coalition government in the state. The tall claims about Meghalaya being a matrilineal society where women hold a privileged status is a carefully told lie to the outside world. The rising crimes against women tell their own story. In all this it is interesting that the State Commission for Women has been without a Chairperson after the previous one demitted office. If justice and fairness is what is desired then why do women’s groups and the plethora of NGOs looking after women’s rights not protest when the Government appoints as chairperson someone whose loyalties lie with the Government rather than with the cause of women’s empowerment and justice?  Earlier a Search and Selection Committee for a Chairperson was proposed by women’s rights activists. It is doubtful if that Committee is still functional and if a name of the next Chairperson has been proposed. These delays in appointing persons to important positions of ombudsman over women-related issues suggest that the Government is insincere about its claims of protecting women and children from all forms of injustices. Government cannot be allowed to get away with this.

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