Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Reservation demand lawful; threat to commit violence is criminal

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Editor,
I would like to comment on the various headlines that appeared on Saturday, June 15, 2024. Firstly, the Voice of the People Party (VPP) through its President, Ardent M. Basaiawmoit, has made a submission to the Expert Committee that although the Reservation Policy talks about Representation in terms of population, the accurate census data was not taken into account at the time when it was implemented. According to the data cited by the VPP, the population of Khasi people comprised 45% of the State population while that of the Garos was 32%.
But interestingly, the GHADC MDC Rinaldo K. Sangma, also provided data on the representation of the communities in the government sector, and stated that the representation of Garo people is 35% while that of the Khasi people is 61%.
So, if we compare the data given by the VPP and the data given by the MDC Rinaldo K Sangma, our Garo friends are not under-represented. Their representation already exceeds the proportion of their population, even as the representation of the Khasis too exceeds their proportion. This is not unlawful as it also means that in some cases, meritorious candidates did not need to avail of the benefits of Reservation.
So, there should be no question of unfairness, or under-representation as per the Law. But there are some organizations or unions that are warning of violence if the policy is corrected. One such is the All India Garo Union, that warned of riots. If such organizations are law abiding, they should spread awareness about the law, and not normalise such threats. But I believe that such organizations do not speak for the majority of the peaceful Garo people, Similarly, a recent viral video of Education Minister Rakkam Sangma’s communal speech, if it was real, does not speak for the majority of Garo people, judging by the thumping loss of the NPP.
So, at the end of the day, the law should prevail, even when it comes to Reservation. It should be logical and consistent as per the historical policies for reservation given to all ST’s in the country and in the State. Let us hope the Expert Committee abides by the Law, and not by assumptions or wrong bases for Reservation. However, the threat to violence is not lawful, but criminal.
Yours etc.,
Kitdor H. Blah,
Shillong

Whistle blowers versus dog whistling

Editor,
Through this letter I beg you to allow me, a communicant member of the Mawkhar Presbyterian Church who regularly pays tithes to the church, to also respond to the letter captioned, ” Mawkhar Presbyterian Church Dilemma: Case of breach of trust” (as appeared in your esteemed newspaper dated June 17, 2024).
Allow me to begin by saying that there is no dilemma in the Mawkhar Presbyterian Church, except for those who wish that the rot of the Church be buried under the carpet, but for how long?
Similarly, there is no washing of dirty linen in public as we are all aware that in 2019 the Mawkhar Presbyterian Church was already in the news for the reason that the “poor chowkidar” has been alleged to have stolen or misused our tithes and consecrated money, which is public money, of the Church. Of course this matter is sub-judice and the matter is under investigation and scrutiny by the respective police and court authorities. However, I must commend the Church Committee for taking the decision to report the matter to the Police and also a few Church Committee Members, who we all know that till date are leaving no stone unturned to pursue the matter to its logical end. That is the only reason we still hope that truth and justice will be made known to us in the foreseeable future.
In the past few days we read several letters highlighting the “affairs” of alleged corruption and abuse of power in the Mawkhar Presbyterian Church by “a few elected elders and deacons”.
Naturally it is a big shocker for the regimented members of the church to read about Church matters in a secular newspaper, but nothing should surprise us that we are now living in a different era where free speech is valuable and the normalization of corruption in every layer of our lives mandates everyone to come out and speak truth to power.
The suggestion that the revelations of the rot inside the church is the handiwork of insiders who are driven by ulterior motives and the spirit of vendetta is nothing but an attempt to digress from the main issue. Interestingly, the writer VB Lyngdoh seems to agree that there is an act of corruption in the Mawkhar Presbyterian Church that needs to be addressed. But the writer fails to acknowledge the crucial role of whistle blowers. Now it is up to us to discern and with whom to identify.
The revelation of the case or the alleged case of corrupt practices which are ongoing in the Mawkhar Presbyterian Church have now become the battle between the unnamed whistle blowers and those who are just dog-whistling.
Whoever the insiders are, I personally admire their guts to blow hard the whistle against “corrupt practices” inside the iron clad vestry of the Church which is so difficult for a lay member to pierce. I believe they are doing so for the sole purpose of saving the Church Community from further damage and are doing so at the cost of their own lives and liberty.
However, those who are just dog-whistling the matter must gather enough courage to tell their “church masters” to investigate the matter and bring out the names of the insiders (whistle blowers) in the public forum of the Church Community. But at the same time they must also call for Church Dorbar to lay bare all the reports on the table and together we deliberate and end this matter once and for all.
Any cover up is not healthy and my only prayer is that the Church Committee must not take the members for a ride for far too long.
Yours etc.,
I. Sutnga
Shillong-2

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