Monday, July 22, 2024

Why communalise crime?


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The recent assault case of one cab driver belonging one ethnic group reportedly by few   fellow taxi drivers of another community is being portrayed as a clash between local and non-local communities. Immediately after the assault case, Meghalaya Police swung into action and arrested the alleged assaulters from Assam.  Such swift action by the police resulting in arrest of the assailants point to the fact that Meghalaya Police is competent enough to track down accused persons if they wish to apprehend the culprits. However, from 1979 onwards, numerous cases of assaults, murder, arson and other forms of crime have regularly happened against one particular section of people in Meghalaya, but there is hardly any evidence or result to show that Police had acted in such alacrity in arresting or taking action against the perpetrators of those crimes. The unsolved murder case of Nikhil Dey, a taxi driver last year is a glaring testimony to this fact.

Street brawls and road rage are common occurrences in every city and town which generally dies down without much ado with appropriate action by Police and minimal interference by the civil society. However, such incidents in Meghalaya are judged on the basis of racial profiling of the perpetrator and victim and the latest case is no exception. In Meghalaya, if the victim happens to be from the dominant community, immediately such attack is branded as an unprovoked racial attack whereas the fact may be completely opposite. One cannot deny the possibility of the victim’s role in instigating or provoking the accused but subsequent hullaballoo raised by NGOs and other organizations completely drowns this vital point. It is not yet known whether the victim was assaulted only because he belonged to a particular community or for any other reason but efforts are always been made to depict it as a racial attack by interested parties without any credible evidence. Has the authority tried to find the real reason of the incident? If so, they should share the truth with the citizenry immediately. The attackers are definitely at fault but it never exonerates the victim of any crime, who might be more or equally responsible for the incident. Although, it is the responsibility of district administration to quell such situation by taking appropriate measures coupled with fair investigation which however, appears to be a far cry in our State considering the history of past five decades.

Yours etc.,

N.K. Kehar,

Shillong – 3

Keeping up with the times


Efforts by the Khasi Authors Society for inclusion of the Khasi language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India is commendable. But the poor standard of Khasi literature and Khasi newspapers also proves to be a deterrent in this journey.  This is the main reason why the Sahitya Akademi has delayed recognition of the Khasi language.

Khasi literature should mirror contemporary life, by critiquing and highlighting contemporary socio – economic problems affecting contemporary Khasi society. It cannot remain stuck in old – world Radhon Sing Berry proverbialisms of elderly teachings, priggish exhortations, fables and legends, bumpkinly sappy saccharine expressions of requited / unrequited love or harping on patriotism and past glory.

Flexibility in keeping up with the times is urgently required for Khasi literature to become contemporary, or to achieve contemporary narratives, contemporary tonalities and novel modes of expression. Its language and content should have an authenticity based on how Khasis speak and converse today, removing all archaisms. It should shift perspectives, and reject rigidity forever. Its lenses and dialectics must operate realistically, seeing contemporary socio – economic problems and contemporary socio – cultural problems as all – important.

Translations and critical studies into English and other foreign languages can hence be met if there’s an equation in sophistication, high literariness and refinement in comparison to other leading literatures of the world.

 Yours etc.,

Willie Gordon Suting,

Shillong – 1

No driving ethics at all!


Through your esteemed daily, I would like to draw the attention of readers to an issue that is affecting every citizen of Shillong. For the past few years the driving ethics of drivers and riders of the city has gone from bad to worse. Maintaining lane discipline does not exist here especially by two wheelers. I too used to ride a two-wheeler but times have changed. Riders today have no patience to stick to one lane for a few seconds; they will go around and make multiple lanes thus leading to congestion. Yesterday as I was walking past Dhankheti, I witnessed an army ambulance stuck as the entrance to Woodland hospital was blocked by taxis and Rapido riders. The army men had to carry the patient on foot to reach the hospital. This is so wrong and should not happen to anyone.

During peak hours of the day, cars are seen double park and sometimes even tripled park on the Laitumkhrah main road. Don Bosco square becomes a two wheeler parking lot. If you try to reason with the drivers/car owners the reply is, “school duty.” The fact that they think it’s a valid reason to park on the road and block the flow of traffic is just so wrong. This goes to show how selfish our society has become. The Shillong Traffic police, does not clamp or take any action against these vehicles, but if you park at that same place in the evening you will without a doubt be fined by the Department. The same is the case with the road next to St. Edmund’s School/College. Its strange how it works. The VVIP’s add to the frustration of the drivers and riders when they zap through the middle with their extra large cars just to clog the traffic even more. During school hours, these extra large government cars are seen haphazardly parked just to pick up or drop one student. The government had earlier introduced STEMS (Sustainable Transport and Efficient Mobility Society) to reduce congestion, but it has no takers and not a single bus is seen plying since its inauguration.

Now coming to the menace of  cab drivers, the indiscriminate parking of tais in Keating road has left no space for other cars to ply and pedestrians to walk. The cluster of cabs in Khyndailad pose the same problems. I have stopped using my car and two- wheeler for two months now, but being a pedestrian in Shillong is as troublesome and difficult. Trying to cross the road at a zebra crossing, you get yelled at by vehicle drivers. Footpaths are small, often with vendors and hawkers occupying them. Then there are broken tiles, and sometimes there’s even an electric pole smack in the middle.

If you were to come out after 8:30 pm, the streets of Shillong become Grand Prix or F1 racing circuits. They drive/ ride at dangerous speeds without a care in the world and there’s no one to stop them. Just recently two horrific accidents were reported; if something is not done the numbers will increase.

To sum it up, the chaotic traffic situation is getting out of hand and that day is not far off when a pedestrian will get shouted just for walking. Shillong drivers and riders need to be strictly educated on driving ethics and courtesies. I urge the concerned authorities to take swift action if they have any sense of responsibility.

Yours etc.,

Name withheld on request,

Via email


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