Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Meghalaya an unsafe place

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Editor,
It is disheartening that this Government or rather the Police Department of our State seem to have forgotten the recent deaths in Ichamati and at Mawlai Mawroh. It’s a damn care attitude in many aspects. Take for instance the tragic loss of a precious life of a poor labourer at Mawroh at the hands of bloody murderers on the April 10 last. Ten days have passed yet it seems that the Government and its investigating agencies have washed their hands off this case. Suspects/ accused are given freedom to return to their normal lives without any fear of punishment from the law. Now they can live and plan their next steps to lay their hands on the next vulnerable targets. Perhaps the case is already closed for want of evidence.
The family of the deceased who have lost a husband, a father, a son, an uncle and a brother etc., are left to fend for themselves emotionally and financially without any hope that they will get justice in the court of law. The poor labourers death is relegated to that of an animal although the man was faultless. Everyone has forgotten about the death. it. There were no protests either from any quarters to urge the Government machinery to follow up/investigate the case until justice is delivered. We are now entering that phase in life where unless something happens to us personally, we couldn’t care a damn about others. We have no time, no remorse, no feelings and no regret about what happens outside our inner circle. We have lost all empathy for the sufferings of others. We have become a pathetic and numb community! Sometimes, it becomes difficult to live in this present scenario. We have lost the sense of closeness towards fellow human beings especially towards people from outside our society and community as if we can survive in insularity and live as an island. We have lost sight of the fact that we are inter-dependent and cannot progress without the live and let live philosophy. The food we eat; the clothes to cover our chastity; our smallest needs all come from outside the State as Meghalaya has very little internal resource..
Coming back to the role of the Government, the less said the better. The perpetrators of crimes are never apprehended and brought to book especially when victims are the poor and down trodden. It seems that the authorities will sink in their teeth only if the crimes pertain to the higher echelons of society. Our ministers, our administrative officials, etc., have not done justice to their duties and seem to have lost the work ethics entrusted on them. I will not be wrong in saying that in our State, the various pressure groups seem to have highjacked the entire Government machinery be it the Police Department, Education, Roads & Transport, Trade and Commerce P.W.D, Health etc. Meghalaya is turning into an unsafe place where some citizens have forfeited the right to life.
Yours etc.,
Helen Dkhar,
Via email

Attacks in Meghalaya of communal nature
Editor,
In his letter “Stinging Rebuke,” (ST April 17, 2024), Glenn Kharkongor has pointed out a characteristic of Meghalaya’s violence against non-tribals that is very significant but does not get discussed: that the killings and pogroms in the state can easily be viewed as a case of Christian zealots killing defenceless Hindus. And if we analyse the facts, one can see that such an inference would be based on facts.
For one, the history of violence in this state began in 1979 with vandalism of a statue of Maa Kali, a revered Hindu goddess. The pogrom that followed killed almost entirely Bengali Hindus who are worshipers of Goddess Kali. Next, the pogrom and expulsion of 1987 targeted almost exclusively Nepali Hindus and the violence in 1992 again largely targeted Bihari Hindus. This is not to mention the smaller incidents of violence that have been a constant feature of the state, and in most of these cases, the victims “happened” to be Hindu.
There are also additional experiences that support the conclusion that this violence has a large religious angle. Non-tribal residents of the state can attest how, during the darkest periods of violence, Christian holidays such as Christmas were the most dangerous nights for them. There are also accounts of how attacks often reached a crescendo on Sundays, right around the time church services ended.
Of course, non-Hindus have also suffered sporadic violence by radical tribal bigots over the years, most prominent being the attacks against the Sikh community. As such, I do not argue that the violence perpetrated by these elements is not racial: rather, it is both racial as well as communal. The communal angle of the violence in Meghalaya has already been picked up by some organizations and groups in the mainland, and although it is clear we as a state are in a class of our own when it comes to petty bigotry, there is always a chance (however remote it may be) of retaliatory consequences. Unless Meghalaya cleans up its act (which is extremely unlikely, going by history and present), we may live to see the truly unfortunate day when its violence causes sufferings and misery even outside its borders.
Yours etc.,
N.K. Kehar
Shillong- 3

Meghalaya Elections: Navigating political debates amidst partisan noise
Editor,
As India has braced itself for the general elections, the political landscape is marred by the cacophony of partisan rhetoric and the relentless clamour of competing narratives. Amidst this tumult, one aspect that has garnered significant attention is the role of certain news networks in shaping public discourse, purportedly fostering meaningful debates but often descending into chaotic shouting matches.
Across the airwaves, anchors of these networks claim to strive for constructive dialogue and informed discussion, yet viewers are all too familiar with the spectacle that ensues, a far cry from the reasoned exchange of ideas promised. Instead of fostering understanding and enlightenment, these debates often devolve into partisan bickering and personal attacks, leaving viewers disillusioned and disenchanted with the democratic process.
Behind the facade of impartiality, there lurks a subtle bias, with anchors covertly voicing their support for their preferred political parties through tactful speech and selective framing of issues. While ostensibly presenting a balanced view, their allegiance to a particular ideology becomes evident through the subtle nuances of their commentary and the guests they choose to feature.
This insidious partisanship not only undermines the credibility of the media but also distorts public perception and erodes trust in the democratic process. Instead of serving as impartial arbiters of truth, these news networks become conduits for the propagation of partisan agendas, perpetuating polarization and divisiveness within society.
Furthermore, amidst the fervour of election season, it is imperative for voters to exercise discernment and critical thinking, resisting the temptation to be swayed by catchy party songs, slogans, or purported past accomplishments. While these may serve as effective marketing tools, they often serve to obfuscate substantive issues and distract from the real concerns facing the electorate.
In the midst of this media maelstrom, it is incumbent upon citizens to seek out reliable sources of information, engage in independent research, and demand accountability from both politicians and the media. Rather than succumbing to the allure of sensationalism and spectacle, voters must prioritize substance over style, holding candidates and news networks alike to a higher standard of integrity and transparency.
As the electoral battle heats up, let us not be swayed by the cacophony of partisan noise or the allure of superficial promises. Instead, let us uphold the principles of democracy by engaging in informed debate, exercising our right to vote judiciously, and holding our elected representatives accountable for their actions.
In conclusion, the general elections present an opportunity for citizens to reclaim the narrative from the clutches of partisan propaganda and media sensationalism. By remaining vigilant and discerning, we can ensure that our democracy remains vibrant, resilient, and true to the principles of transparency, accountability, and informed decision-making.
Yours etc.,
Maven Nongrum,
Shillong

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