Sins of racism and xenophobia

Editor,

I am writing to respond to these powerful words of D. Bhattacharjee in a letter to the editor, in ST, Jan 22:
“Legacy of such hate crimes is continuing for over forty years with the tacit support of the Police, administration and civil society. No doubt there will be feeble ‘strong condemnation’ from few persons and the Police will try to catch the ‘miscreants’ or ‘misguided youths’ without any result. I therefore, urge the minority populace of Meghalaya to reconcile to the fact that if they are to stay in Meghalaya they have to bear such assaults and violence at regular intervals as they have experienced all these years without any qualms and not to expect any justice from the administration or solidarity from the civil society.”
How incredibly sad that the plight of minority Indians in Meghalaya has not essentially changed in the decades since the sixties, in undivided Assam, when Bengalis (in particular) and others were fair game for bullying and assaulting by locals, through pogroms in which neighbours would turn into enemies. Without being cynical about human nature I wonder if capitalism and modernity will solve this problem of violent xenophobia. When we are busy making money in honest ways, we are forced to interact with “alien” others and to sublimate our violent propensities.
Recent violence in Shillong against minority non-tribals is a reminder to Meghalaya on its 50th anniversary of the original sins of this state — racism and xenophobia — a direct fallout of lethal identity politics…

Yours etc.,

Deepa Majumdar,

Via email

Assault and abuse of non-tribals in Meghalaya

Editor,

The so-called term non-tribals pertains to Meghalaya as anyone who is an outsider and does not share the physical looks and are unwelcome in this state. For decades, the non tribals have been living in fear and dare not open their mouth against the systematic abuse and assault perpetrated on them by most of the local tribals of Meghalaya. In fact, they derive pleasure by beating and abusing the non tribals and think it consolidates their community and are far superior to them in every way. The point is even after attaining 50 years of statehood, the tribals of this state has not developed any empathy towards the non tribals. Being a Khasi myself, several times I have overheard the bitter comments and abusive words against the non-tribals here in Shillong. My understanding is that majority of the tribals do not like the non-tribals because they are living in “our land” and are sustaining themselves on our land, water and food. So we are the providers of everything to them and so they must accept and tolerate any thing we do to them. By the way, we did not create this land, rivers, forests etc. It belongs to everyone. Education seems to have made hardly any impact on our mind to show respect and love towards the non-tribals. On the other hand, it is the non-tribals who are sustaining the tribals of this state by their hard work and by paying income tax. The government salaries taken by the tribal staff and other workers, including those in government are due to the income tax paid by them. We don’t pay income tax, although if we want to we can, as no law prevents payment of income tax if somebody wants to do so. In fact, we feel proud in not paying income tax and by taking all the social and economic benefits. I can site innumerable instances where the non-tribals actually sustains the running of this state. At the end, I hope better sense prevails upon the tribals in this 21st century to accommodate everybody for growth and peace in the state. Please think again and again before you raise your hand on the non-tribals.

Yours etc.,

Donald Swer

Shillong

Meghalaya Police, please introspect!

Editor,

Yesterday as I was returning home, I was halted in front of Civil Hospital as my vehicle registration ended in an odd number, on a day reserved for even number vehicles. As I was in possession of a (very hard to get) vehicle pass, I was waived on. But in the few minutes I was at that check point, I was dismayed to see the apparent glee with which the police were collecting fines, so much so that the officers’ radio crackled with congratulatory approval from his superior for the job they were doing.
Might I remind the government that while they are eager to take our money at every turn through taxes (yes, everyone pays taxes in some form) and fines, stopping us from working to earn that same money is a self-defeating exercise. The odd-even rule for private vehicles is a bizarre solution in a place like Shillong where public transport is pathetic at best, and shows the intellectual shallowness of the bureaucracy to just copy/paste solutions from other cities without thinking if the measures are suitable here. Rather, efforts might yield better results with strictly enforcing mask mandates, which are a joke at the moment.
While I do not blame the police for doing their job, I humbly and gently would like to remind them of the increasing lawlessness in our city…a local man beaten to death walking home from hospital, non-tribals beaten in front of police stations, vehicle thefts, drunken driving accidents, and a general feeling of insecurity amongst our citizenry. I need not even go back to the tragic incident of last August to point out the incompetence in the Department. I sincerely hope for all concerned that the MLP introspect on what their core duties are, instead of taking pleasure in penalising people trying to make a living in these hard times.

Yours etc.,

V Khongwir

Via email

Get real time updates directly on your device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.