Sunday, May 19, 2024

Hate crimes trigger outrage in state


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, April 11: With the Lok Sabha polls approaching, there has been a disturbing rise in hate crimes across the state. While some individuals on social media dismiss these incidents as commonplace before elections, the normalisation of such violence is a matter of concern. There is a growing consensus among citizens that Lok Sabha candidates should unequivocally condemn these acts and demonstrate a commitment to upholding the rights of all citizens, regardless of caste, creed, or religion.
Citizens across professions spoke on how they the recent crimes may or may not impact the elections.
Social activist Kyrsoibor Pyrtuh pitched for boycotting all election meetings until the candidates and parties commit to taking an honest stand against targeted violence.
“It is crucial that they prioritise the safety and well-being of the people they aim to represent. We must come together as a united front to voice our concerns and demand action from those who have the power,” he said while condemning Ray’s murder.
“A murder is a murder and whoever commits it is a murderer. Let us not remain silent in the face of such injustice. It is our responsibility to ensure that our voices are heard and that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are brought to justice,” he added.
“Also, we must stand up and challenge hate speeches rife on social media platforms, which also act as breeding grounds for such violence. Together, we can create a safer and more peaceful environment for our families and communities,” Pyrtuh said.
Expressing concern and dismay over the increase in cold-blooded killings, he said such incidents at Ichamati and Mawroh Mawlai have heightened the sense of insecurity and despair among the ordinary citizens, especially the poor and daily wage earners.
“It is heartbreaking to think that such innocent lives are being cut short by senseless acts of violence,” he said.
Pyrtuh criticised the police for struggling to cope with crimes and ensure justice for the victims, “leading to a growing sense of helplessness and frustration” among the residents of Shillong.
“It is high time that we, as a society, take a stand against this targeted violence and demand peace, justice, and solidarity with the victims,” he said.
Prasenjit Biswas, Professor of Philosophy at NEHU, Shillong, said, “Sometimes handling a situation of conflict becomes tricky. Starting with an obscure hamlet like Ichamati down to killing of labourers is an entire situation. It should have been handled in a manner that conflicted parties are disengaged with a sense of assurance.”
“An eye for an eye leaves all of us without sight. Therefore, peace and harmony need not be disturbed for a cause, howsoever important that is. CAA need not become a bone of contention as the rules effectively stop anyone even from applying. So the current hate crimes only leave a mark of distress and disinterest among urban and rural voters turning the election into a routine exercise,” he stated.
Some were not comfortable with sharing their identity, for reasons known to one and all.
A professor, on the condition of anonymity, joking about how he did not want a letter with bullets at his house, said, “The entire country is running on hate crimes now, so it is about who is a minority where, and what can we do to please the majority. You will get an answer when you open any social media, there are people condemning the murders, while at the same time, and there are people laughing about it.”
On social media platforms, where videos of recent incidents have circulated, a diverse range of reactions has emerged. While fake accounts and bots have callously made light of the tragedies, genuine users have condemned the violence against innocent victims. Another professor speculated that hate crimes are orchestrated for political gain, suggesting a deliberate strategy to stoke tensions.
Another citizen, said, “It is just funny that how much the current government in power can do to retain their vote base in the East Khasi Hills, unfortunately I don’t think these incidents will actually have an impact on the LS polls, because one wants to choose the lesser evil.”
Many social media users condemned the killing of 52-year-old labourer Arjun Ray from Nongmensong and demanded quick and stringent action from the government against the perpetrators of the crime.
The names of the users have been slightly altered but the comments stand.
“Always the soft targets, typically our poor labourers. It’s common during election time. Cowardly, shameful and condemnable! GoM must apprehend these perpetrators immediately,” read the post of one O Shadap.
“My heart breaks for the deceased family. May the Lord our God guide them and give them strength to get through this tough time. I hope the culprits are brought to justice,” said P Suting.
Another user, FR Myrthong, condemned the murder and said just because they cannot do anything against those in power, it does not mean they will abuse their power over innocent people.
“It is very sad. Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. People of different races and religions are the creation of the same creator,” said C Marbs.
One B Nongkhlaw asked, “What is happening in our state these days no love, no peace no respect?”
“Capital punishment for the culprits,” demanded Rangsa Marak, another user.
T Hadem wrote, “We all are human being please do not kill them they are poor labourers they are hardworking labourers they have their family, beloved one waiting for them to come back home.”


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