Death penalty violates human rights


Amnesty International says “As long as human justice remains fallible, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated.”

The global movement for human justice rightly puts it in words when it comes to capital punishment or death penalty. There are many false rape and murder accusations and the accused sometimes has to suffer for no fault of his/hers. Our Social Welfare Minister, Kyrmen Shylla seemed to be sentimentally anguished when he talked of capital punishment and the general public’s support for death penalty is solely based on moral grounds and retribution. Generally, it is believed that only capital punishment will lower the crime rate but according to statistical evidence it confirms that deterrence doesn’t work and the fact that it doesn’t is because of the lengthy legal procedures in the system. Art. 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees the right to life to every individual and to legally grant the death penalty to an individual contradicts the fundamental right itself. Capital punishment is no less a murder, just that it is in legal form and it doesn’t rehabilitate the prisoners.

What is needed is proper value education, public awareness, self-defence training and quick and effective judicial procedures to ensure that justice to the victims can be delivered at a quick pace to restore public faith in the rule of law.

Yours etc.,

Kevin M Shangpliang,

Via email

Environmental destruction


Apropos the front page photograph captioned, “Dumping loose soil in Wah Umkhrah,” published in your esteemed daily (ST April 06, 2021). Knowing fully well that the area is flood effected for so many years, we fail to understand how the authorities can allow such dumping of soil on the Wah Umkhrah river thereby turning the river into a nullah. As we have seen various steps have been taken to clean up /widen the river for the past few years. This act will not only create havoc but also the very purpose of cleaning /widening will be defeated. We therefore urge the authorities to take immediate steps to stop further dumping of soil and arrange to remove the soil already dumped.

Yours etc,,

S.Dey, B.Thapa, P Kharlyngdoh etc

Via email


 India sinks on gender gap report


India  has  dropped  28  places  to  rank  140th  among  156  countries  in  the  World  Economic  Forum’s  Global  Gender  Gap  Report  2021  and  has  become  the  third  worst  performer  in  South  Asia. In  South  Asia,  only  Pakistan  and  Afghanistan  ranked  below  India. The   report’s  criteria  for  assessment  covers  four  areas :  economic  participation  and  opportunity, educational  attainment,  health  and  survival  and  political  empowerment.

Much of the decline in India has occurred  on  the  political  empowerment  index.  There  is  a  significant  decline  in  the  share  of  women  among  ministers  which  has  dropped  from  23.1%  in  2019  to  9.1%  in  2021.  Apart  from  this,  the  share  of  women  in  parliament  remains  stagnant  at  14.4%.  As  for  women’s economic  participation  and  opportunity,  the  present  state  is  pitiful.  There  has  been  a  decrease  in  women’s  labour  force  participation  rate.  In   addition  to  this,  the  share  of  women  in    professional  and  technical  roles  has  declined.  Further,  the  share  of  women  in  senior  and  managerial  positions  continues  to  be  low.  Also,  the  estimated  earned  income  of  women  in  India  is  only  one-fifth  of  that  of  men which  positions  India  among  the  bottom  10  globally.

Women face discrimination in  health  and  survival  as  well.  India  ranks  among  the  bottom  5  countries  in  this  regard.  Wide  gaps  in  sex  ratio  at  birth  are  caused  by  high  incidence  of  gender-based  sex-selective  practices.  With  regard  to  educational  attainment  index,  one-third  of  women  are  illiterate(34.2%)  compared  to  17.6%  of  men.   In  addition,  violence  against  women  has  risen over  the  years.

Providing  space  for  girls  and  women  to fulfil  their  aspirations  requires  a  framework  that  promotes  gender  equality  at  the  heart  of  every  design,  whether  it  is  policy  or  programme.  It  needs  to  address  the  complex  interplay  of  factors  that  operate  at  different  levels.  Women’s economic  independence  must  be enhanced.  They  must  be  helped  to  enable  the  realization  of  sexual  and  reproductive  health  and  rights.  Life  skills  education  must  be  provided  to  women   to  equip  them    with  knowledge,  skills  and  understanding  of  their  rights.  Prevention  of  violence  and  violence  response  system  must  be  improved.   These,   along  with  other  micro  approaches,   hold  promise  of  a  bright  future  for  women.  Empowering women  not  merely  benefits  her  as  an  individual  but  her  entire  community.

Yours  etc.,

Venu GS,



Death penalty for rapists wrong!


The Social Welfare minister joins many other citizens in wanting rapists to be hanged to death  because of the heinous nature of their crimes. But killing a convict does not deter others from committing the same crime. Then between arresting the rapists and giving them a death penalty is a long tedious procedure. The first thing that is expected when a crime occurs is for the culprit to be arrested. But in the several cases of crimes committed on women in Jaintia Hills and in the state as a whole, arrests are yet to be made.  So far only one person was arrested in the latest case happening in Jowai on Sunday. In the other two cases of this year there aren’t even any suspects so far. This is because policing in the state leaves much to be desired. Those who have had experiences of dealing with the police know how unsatisfactory their system is. Is it because of recruitment of wrong individuals without the aptitude for policing? It is well known that in Meghalaya and other states too, recruitment to the police is often dictated by money and political clout and not by merit. If the meritorious had joined the police, things might have been better by now.  But why cry over spilt milk? It is our fate here in Meghalaya to suffer from bad policing, bad traffic, bad governance, bad architectural design for houses, bad roads and polluted piped water coming into our homes. Everywhere we look it is dark and dismal. Where do we look for deliverance? Its frustrating to the core.

Yours etc.,

David Kharpran,

Via email

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