One death too many!

Editor,

The other day Subhankar Pratim Deb was excited about celebrating the birthday of his only daughter. The day was filled with fun and happiness as friends and relatives came for the birthday party. By late evening, most guests had left save his school going niece who was to be dropped by her uncle Subhankar in his scooty. As they reached the junction in front of the main secretariat, a mini pick up Bolero rammed into the two wheeler he was driving, killing him instantaneously and grievously injuring his niece. That the killer vehicle was being driven at a tremendous speed and in the wrong direction of a one-way street, that too in a blind corner, gave Subhankar little chance to save himself.
A life was snuffed out. A family shattered. While the young school girl battles for life there are reports that the criminal driver is already out on bail! Subhankar Pratim Deb was only 42. He was an employee of IIM Shillong. All his colleagues will vouch for his sincerity and diligence as well as his exuberance for life. He was always out to help anyone who needed it. On the numerous occasions he worked with me he always reminded me that he was available 24×7 and if any work remained to be done he was sure to be in office be it on Sundays or holidays or even at 10 pm at night!
Unfortunately, this is not the first death that has happened when vehicles flout the one way streets at night. The killer points are the secretariat one way road as well as the one way near Civil Hospital. Though we cannot bring back Subhankar, the least we could do is to ensure that one-way streets are respected at all hours. The first step could be to install CCTV cameras so that any violation at night can be noted and heavily penalised. Wilful violation causing death and injury also needs to be given the maximum punishment so that it can act as a deterrent.
Rest in Peace Subhankar. While we pray for your eternal peace and that the Almighty gives strength to the family to face this terrible tragedy, we also want justice. The Government must ensure adequate compensation to the family so that the death of the only bread earner does not adversely impact the education of his school going daughter and adequate care for his aged mother.

Yours etc.,

Prof Sanjeeb Kakoty

IIM Shillong

Crime must be punished

Editor,

We have no right to destroy what we cannot create. Here a human life is lost for the lack of sense or perhaps for the damn-care attitude of the driver who disobeyed traffic rules and drove on to hit a Scooty killing the driver and seriously injuring the pillion. For the family who lost a son, a father, an uncle, it is an irreparable loss. No one can ever fill the void that he has left in the hearts, hearth and home of his near and dear ones. However, what is even more irksome is to read that the driver who fled the scene but who was later arrested by the police “somehow managed to get bail.” (The Shillong Times, dt. 11th May, 2022). Who is this man? Of what worth is he that in spite of having ripped a life off this world he managed to get bail so soon and so easily? Has the law of the land become so feeble and weak that it does not hold accountability for the crime he committed. The culprit here not only broke traffic rules but also killed a man. Ironically, for what he did, instead of being apprehended he was given bail and allowed to calm down and perhaps settle himself comfortably in his home. Is this fair or ethical? But let’s just say that it is easy for those who are well connected to trample the law underneath their feet. Should it be so? No one is and should be above the law. Let justice prevail.

Yours etc.,

Jenniefer Dkhar,

Via email

Don’t use history for vested interests

Editor,

A local civil court’s order to videograph and inspect the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Masjid complex in Varanasi has aroused yet another controversy. The videography and inspection were done to collect evidence to prove whether Hindu religious structures were partially razed to build the mosque. Those who filed the petition in the court and some other Hindu people said that they had the right to worship in the mosque area where many deities were present.
The Places of Worship Act lays down that a religious place must retain the same character it had on August 15, 1947 and that legal proceedings cannot be initiated. The principle in the Act shows that the sanctity of all religious places must be preserved. True, history may give different versions of the origin of religious places. On the other hand, historical evidence cannot be used as an excuse to change or remove the places of worship. All places of worship have equal importance. People belonging to different religions have the right to visit the religious places of their choice and offer prayers there. People must show religious tolerance and allow other people to worship in the concerned religious place. Any attempt to degrade or consecrate religious places must be strictly dealt with. If any injustice was shown to any religion in the past, it must be treated as part of history. We cannot depend on the occurrences of the past to change the religious practices of people of the present time. Unnecessary controversies are created by filing petitions in courts to find evidence of worship by Hindus in religious places of other communities. A petition was filed in the Allahabad High Court to open 20 rooms in the Taj Mahal to find the presence of Hindu idols. Such tendencies will have a negative impact on the religious harmony and secularism in the country.

Yours etc.,

Venu GS

Kollam

 Very heartening geological facts, but…

Editor,

I express my deep sense of appreciation to Dr Elad Laloo on “The Umiam Hydel Project, A Geological Marvel” (ST May 12, 2022) and am glad to know about the resilience of the dam from the man with authority, being a geologist from the Dhanbad School of Mines. He has put to rest the argument of our Power Minister who used the phrase “life span” inappropriately when actually that depends on the geological age of the site. Last monsoon, the tragic collapse of the dam in Uttarakhand, located on the foothills of the Himalayas that was built against the advice of experts like Mukherjee, was lamentable. One geologist described our hills thus – “Compared to U Lum Shyllong and Nokrek, the Himalayas are mountains of yesterday.” And ‘yesterday’ in the geological calendar pertains to billions of years.
What is worrying is that the MDA government would misread the article and believe that it will not have to worry about the life span of the Umiam dam. It may even throw a wet blanket at the timely intervention of the High Court which under the new Chief Justice has done marvelous works.
Let not that article hijack the rather late diagnosis of the present health of the dam. Of course, geologically, there is nothing to fear about but structurally, the dam hangs by a thread as a result of negligence and complete breakdown of the law and order machinery be it the application of the MVI Acts and the conduct of our certified weighbridges. I often wonder why no one ever wittily enquires from Beltola, how many tons of coal is carried per truck. One would be awe struck by the huge difference.

Yours etc.,

W. Passah

Nongkrem

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