On arrogance and servility
The photograph published on the front page of your newspaper on July 23, 2021 showing an ambulance with a patient which was forced to wait at the Shillong Civil Hospital Premises as police conducted a drill ahead of the visit of the Union Home Minister has proved yet again that a photograph can speak a thousand words. It mirrors the depths of inhumanity we have sunk into. Common people are told in no uncertain terms that their lives count for nothing. The arrogance of power on open display is mind boggling and sickening. The photograph also implies that arrogance has a flipside — servility. It means that the arrogant are also willing to worship those who are higher up in the power hierarchy. Indeed, the Ri Tipbriew Tipblei has travelled a long way down the bottom in a few decades.
BJP’s hold on Meghalaya
It was all too visible that the BJP Government in Delhi holds complete sway over Meghalaya. In 2023, we can expect more BJP MLAs to be elected since the NPP is just a camouflage for the BJP and serves as its footstool. The security drill for Union Home Minister has been sent by Delhi and the State Government has to merely obey every diktat from the Centre, including keeping citizens locked in by closing down every shop; every market, every road. This is really unprecedented and dictatorial. Recently this newspaper carried a report that some MLAs in the present house want to join the BJP. I will not be surprised if those are Congress MLAs. They have nothing to look forward to since the Congress leadership lives in a bubble and refuses to recognise its organisational problems. They can’t seem to find another leader more politically savvy and capable than Rahul Gandhi. 2023 will be here soon and Congress MLAs cannot wait forever for their party to be resurrected. Congress leaders like Mukul Sangma will never join the NPP. Floating another party is a long and uncertain journey. It is almost sure that the BJP is returning in 2024 because there is no viable opposition to counter it. The regional parties, if I may speak my mind, have already lost their credibility by piggy-back riding on the NPP, an associate of the BJP. They have no face now to say that they are not with the BJP, after they have worked so closely with BJP colleagues in the government. Moreover, the BJP has gained acceptability even among tribals too. The regional parties on their own will never come to power. They don’t see eye to eye on anything – much less on leadership. It is Meghalaya’s fate that it will always be ruled by a national party so it’s better to accept that and move on and not pretend that the BJP is a “No No” here in this state.
Senior Congress leaders like Mukul Sangma, Vincent Pala, Charles Pyngrope would be pursuing a nebulous political future if they stick on to the Congress – a party that refuses to learn any lessons. Many believe that the Pegasus snooping spyware case will bring the BJP down. But that’s not going to happen. The BJP has enough fire-fighting abilities and will come out unscathed. Mark my words!
Shrinking economy, no vision
In the write up, “How long is too long?” (ST July 23, 2021), the writer has raised many pertinent questions and I fully agree with her that “the paucity of research and data in Meghalaya is troubling.” This is a fact because the cluster numbers are made available to the public which I see in Shillong Times everyday but there is no analysis to explain how and why Mawlai registered so many positive cases. There is every possibility that people queuing up to fetch water are spreading the infection when mask is not worn properly and distancing is not observed that allows the droplets to have a field day. It could be lack of awareness on the part of the people and the Health Department not doing its job well in enlightening them. We are depending on the research of WHO, MoHFW, USA, UK and Israel about Covid-19 but our own research and analysis is absent except that only numbers are being shared on clusters of infection on a day to day basis without any analysis on how, what and why some clusters record higher numbers than others. Here the concerned department has to wake up and provide proper information to the public who they are paid to service. The Government on its part has to first speed up the implementation of JJM and AMRUT and stop making announcement of new ideas that it proposes to take up when the coffers are empty.
Patricia Mukhim has correctly observed that the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), Shillong, “needs to be more visible as an independent institution”. Meghalaya has already borne the brunt of the first lockdown and as per my estimate approximately Rs 11,000 crores business was lost because of this insensible lockdown. Though the Chief Secretary on July 5, 2021 admitted that Covid-19 has taken a toll on the state’s economy but could not quantify the losses. “Perhaps after a month, we will be able to tell you how much the state has suffered. The losses are definitely huge,” he said. I hope the report will be out in another 12 days as assured by the Chief Secretary Mr MS Rao.
Vijay K Lyngdoh
A border dispute
In this so-called “dispute” (?) between the two states – Assam and Meghalaya – we should realize that there was no objection to the boundaries of the Districts within the province till 14th August, 1947, the last day of British rule in India. So, we should assume that those district boundaries which, we believed, were defined by the Act XIV of 1874 (Boundary Notification under section 8) under Act IV (B.C) of 1864 and Regulation II of 1880 and Boundary Notification under Act XXII of 1869 and Regulation I of 1878, were the ones accepted by all concerned – province and the districts as defined.
There was no talk of boundary dispute until 1985; thirteen years after the State was established.
In October, 1985, the Governments of Meghalaya and Assam had referred the question of interpretation of the boundaries between the two states to the Committee headed by Mr. Justice, Y. V. Chandrachud, former Chief Justice of India. The Committee was to complete the work within a period of six months – It submitted its report in 1987. The report was not made public and is not made public until now.
These facts are bound to raise questions among the people at any time; but, no one in Meghalaya does so because the people had implicit faith in their elected representatives.
Now that the issue has become centre stage in our polity because of Langpih and other transgression by the Assam Police, so, we ask :- (a) what is in the Committee report? (b) Why is it not made public? (c) We suggest that Mr. Conrad Sangma read the report of Assam-Meghalaya Boundary Committee (July 27, 1987) and tell us what he understands about it or he should get his legal experts to tell us why it was not accepted/why the Government of Meghalaya did not accept the Y. V. Chandrachud Committee’s Report?
Morning Star Sumer,
Shillong – 2