Tuesday, April 23, 2024

What happens now?


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So the banned HNLC has finally decided to join the bandwagon of so called NGOs (seng bhalang) not that there is much of a difference of one from the other (The so called Sleeping Cell members of the HNLC caught at Umsning with IED explosive ingredients all belong to the HNYF, whose President/ Chairman / leader or what have you was the HNLC spokesperson for the recently collapsed Peace Talks). So where is the surprise? Anyway the militant outfit like the other NGOs of our state have decided to issue an ultimatum to the Government and this time it is a ‘one month notice’ for relocating the residents of Harijan Colony or else be prepared for IED blasts all over the place. To emphasize their point the HNLC has now owned up responsibility for the recent IED explosion at Iew Mawlong.
HNLC terror acts are making the headlines nowadays. Now this is surprising for an outfit that just six months ago the police claim to have dwindled to a 20 or so membership. How has the HNLC suddenly revived itself to once again raise its ugly head to this threatening level? I clearly remember a discussion at a ‘iing iap briew’ (bereaved family) about the police encounter with Cheristerfield Thangkhiew and of the Government’s enthusiasm for holding peace talks with this underground outfit. Come to think of it now, it does appear that the politician’s agenda for Peace Talks and the agenda of the HNLC for the same are as different as Heaven and Hell. The politician’s agenda, for MDA members like AL Hek, Conrad Sangma, Lahkmen Rymbui was the cheap popularity of their ability to bring the undergrounds above ground. Period! Doubtful if there was any vision beyond this point. So the Central Government from Delhi sent in some dumbo of an official whom no one has ever heard of. Our State Government did no better and they simply deputed another retired official. So much for state Government’s preparedness for the HNLC Peace Talks
The HNLC agenda was much more sophisticated and well planned. They knew they were on the verge of collapse. Funds from extortions and threats were drying up; new membership to the organization dwindling and their so-called safe haven in Bangladesh not so secure as before. So they pretended an interest in Peace Talks; sought safe passage to come and participate in the Peace Talks to which they simply paid lip service. They used this period of safe passage to creep out of their Bangladesh hideouts, recruit new members; give more training to their members ( bomb making and other terror tactics ); identify new victims and causes for their extortion activities and when they satisfied themselves of these goals they conveniently called off the Peace Talks. In a nutshell they simply sought time and space to regroup and our blind politicians willingly provided them with one. A dying terror group arose once again from its grave. They walked away after regrouping and rearming themselves while the State Government leaving our glory seeking politicians holding the drooping bouquet of wilted hope.
The end result of this foolish impromptu foray into the unknown by our big talking, less thinking politicians was egg on their faces. So what do they do next? Talks for relocating the residents of Harijan Colony were about to fructify. In the meanwhile the State Government also attempted to give fresh oxygen to a dying militant terror outfit. Now if the relocating does take place who do you think will walk away with the credit? Who gets the vote for popularity? Will Shillong once again be forced to shut down by 5 in the evening due to some juvenile delinquents? Where will the investors for the 10 billion dollar economy come from? Let me end by leaving the reader with these morbid thoughts and questions.
Yours etc.,
Bitdor Lamare,
Via email

Combatting smoking in public spaces

I am writing to highlight a pressing issue affecting our vibrant markets, specifically Police Bazar and Polo, namely the rampant prevalence of public smoking. The pervasive presence of cigarette smoke not only detracts from the overall experience of these areas but also poses significant health risks to our community. Of particular concern is the distressing sight of students openly engaging in smoking behaviour.
A visit to markets like Police Bazar and Polo, intended for leisure and commerce, often involves navigating through a haze of smoke. This not only proves bothersome but also presents tangible health hazards, especially for non-smokers inadvertently inhaling second hand smoke.
The sight of students smoking in these public spaces is deeply troubling. As stewards of our future, their well-being is paramount, and their exposure to such harmful habits not only jeopardizes their health but also sets a detrimental example for their impressionable peers.
Immediate action is imperative to address this issue. Strengthening the enforcement of existing regulations prohibiting public smoking is crucial. Additionally, comprehensive educational initiatives must be implemented to underscore the adverse health effects of smoking and the importance of maintaining clean, smoke-free public areas.
Together, we can rejuvenate the vibrancy and safety of our markets. Let us not allow the scourge of smoking to tarnish the vitality and allure of our city.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. I remain optimistic that collaborative efforts will pave the way for a healthier and more pleasant urban environment for all.
Yours etc.,
Pankaj Kumar
Assistant Teacher
RBA Hindi Secondary School

Simultaneous Elections: Challenges and Costs

This refers to the report, “One nation, one election: Committee recommends two-step approach to simultaneous elections” (ST, March 14, 2024). No elected house in a parliamentary democracy can have a fixed expiry date. So, there is hardly any possibility that five years after a one-nation-one-election, Lok Sabha and all Vidhan Sabha elections will again automatically come into a synchronised joint event.
To meet the challenge the committee headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind has recommended on Thursday that if a mid-term general election has to be held, the new Lok Sabha’s tenure, “will be only for the unexpired term of the immediately preceding full term of the House of the People and the expiration of this period shall operate as a dissolution of the House.”
The only argument in favour of the idea behind one-nation-one-election is that it would be cost-effective. However, it would actually become more costly as it may require a general election for a very short period of time instead of the usual five-year full term in case of a mid-term poll as per the recommendation of the Committee. Moreover, premature deaths of some elected state assemblies in order to club them under the umbrella of one election would add more cost to it.
Apart from enhancing the cost, concurrent polls can damage the federal fabric of our country. Such a one-size-fits-all approach is incompatible with the principles of our diverse, parliamentary democracy.
Yours etc.,
Sujit De,


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