Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Justice casualty of rising ‘hate crime’ in M’laya

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SHILLONG, April 10: Is it the fear of influx and being marginalised or is it plain hatred that compels an individual or a group of individuals to pose in the garb of “masked miscreants” and murder someone in cold blood? Or could the reason be a total collapse of the law-and-order machinery combined with the stony silence of the civil society that allows murderers to get away scot-free?
Two incidents of alleged “hate crime” have been recorded in Meghalaya in a span of two weeks but the government seems to be not bothered about them.
The incident in Ichamati on March 27 and the latest one at Mawlai Mawroh on Wednesday have a common link — the victims were daily wage earners.
Arjun Ray, who lost his life in the attack on Wednesday, was neither a migrant nor an illegal immigrant. He was born in Meghalaya and was a genuine non-tribal citizen of the state. He was assaulted on the pretext of checking his labour licence.
His father reared cow and sold milk for a living. He and others in the family switched to working as daily wage labourers.
The family found Ray dead after reaching NEIGRIHMS where he was admitted following the assault.
“Why do you have to wear a mask when you ask somebody whether or not he has a labour license?” asked Dharam Veer Ray, a well-wisher of the family.
He added, “When they said it is with the owner, they should have called that person and enquired about it instead of thrashing them. The house owners also have the responsibility to ensure the safety of the labourers when they are hired.”
Suresh Kumar, a relative, said, “We keep hearing about labourers without labour card. When they said it was with the owner, who gave the attackers the right to kill. No one has the right to take a life.”
“We are minorities. Where will we go? We were born and brought up in the state but after this incident, we wonder if we are safe. No one is feeling secure. People are being killed frequently. What wrong have we done? We are just building your houses,” he added.
The Shillong Times also received a copy of the deceased’s labour licence and his EPIC from his family.

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