Monday, July 22, 2024

Church not a private entity


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I cannot hold my studied silence any longer over improprieties of churches no matter whatever denomination. And to all believers, church hierarchical leaders and layman, kindly reflect and introspect deeply before brushing off misappropriation of funds, assets and church properties as an ”in- house” matter! It is God’s money remember and God is Never an in-house issue! I winced when reading responses of learned church leaders berating members who made public the swindling of crores!
And rightly so, I believe, (and support), D. Kharwanniang and M. Sohtun in thanking ‘The Shillong Times – The 5th pillar of the Mawkhar Church’ for publishing letters and news reports over the years. (ST 9th July, 2024).
The imprisonment of Moderators, Bishops and priests of the Church of North and South India for fraud and embezzlements must stand out as a deterrent for all churches. Leaders and elected committees of churches cannot afford to be selective when inquiring into church funds being mis-appropriated nor can they compartmentalise the matter.
Our Diocese of North East India too is a divided, nay fractured lot, including the members of The All Saints’ Cathedral. How can we permit God’s money to be misused in the guise of of doing His work shocks me. For God’s work is not clandestine! It doesn’t line the pockets of his servants! Nor does it swell the bank balances of His servants substantially!
I was hoping I’d be summoned last year by the Synod to depose in administrative and financial issues of the Diocese, but sadly the Synod never responded to the Pastorate Committee nor does it respond to new matters of improprieties under the current leadership! So much for sweeping things under the the carpet in the name of ”In-house” policies!
Yours etc.,
Kevin Phillips
Shillong – 19

Complete absence of Rule of Law

Few recent incidents in our State Meghalaya confirms that the State is actually being run by ‘non-state actors’ instead of by the democratically elected Government or the administrative machinery. The elected representatives although have taken solemn oath under the Constitution of India to protect the rights of all citizens irrespective of caste, creed or religion but in reality, none of them has been found to uphold their constitutional obligation as far as protecting rights of non-tribal citizens are concerned. Here any group or organization routinely tramples upon the democratic and constitutional rights of non-tribals be they from the State or from other parts of the Indian Union in the name of protecting the ‘indigenous community.’ Meghalaya is perhaps the unique State in the country where a village council (Dorbar Shnong) has the power to expel all non-tribal people as a consequence to a ‘drunken brawl’ involving only two persons. It is however, not clear which article of our sacred Constitution or which enacted law grants such sweeping powers to a Village Council of Meghalaya to punish an entire population on the basis of their race for an alleged criminal incident.
Similarly, fellow Indian citizens hailing from other states entering Meghalaya or transiting through it are branded as “illegal immigrants” with impunity and are subjected to harassment by ‘non-state actors’ on the pretext of “illegal influx”, a term which is used primarily to target fellow Indian citizens from other states of our country. The inaction on the part of the Government to uphold their constitutional responsibilities proves that they are merely occupying the ‘chairs’ without any authority to rule which is nothing but complete subversion of established democratic principles.
Yours etc.,
N.K. Kehar

State Reservation Policy

We are all aware of the team that has been assigned the very important task of examining Meghalaya’s Reservation Policy. The Committee has two eminent jurists in Justice (Retired) Mool Chand Garg of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and Justice (Retired) Dr Satish Chandra of the Allahabad High Court. It also has a leading sociologist Prof. D. V. Kumar from the Dept of Sociology, NEHU, Shillong apart from experts in Population Studies and Economics. It goes without saying then, that this is indeed a very high-profile team and without a doubt a truly efficient one to look at the Reservation Policy of Meghalaya.
When the team was formed, Meghalaya’s Cabinet Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh said that the task at hand would be for the Committee to study the current Reservation Policy and recommend modifications, if necessary and to undertake wide-ranging consultations with all stakeholders and visit various locations of the state to solicit the views of all stakeholders.
The Expert Committee, which was formed in September 2023 (if my memory does not fail me), has been asked to submit its report to the Meghalaya government within 12 months. While I understand it is no easy feat to take up a task as sensitive as this one, every stakeholder has provided, as desired by the Committee, suggestions and comments with the hope that the Committee would give recommendations at the earliest. Now it is upto the Committee to examine the various suggestions and comments which have been received and come out with a policy which takes into account various dimensions of the issue. While doing so, the Committee needs to consider historical and sociological factors that prompted the Reservation Policy in Meghalaya. The sooner the Committee gives its recommendations, the better it is for the State of Meghalaya.
Yours etc.,
Shemlang Lyngdoh,
Via email

BJP’s missed opportunities in Meghalaya

The BJP’s alliance with the NPP in Meghalaya has been largely unproductive, benefiting only a couple of MLAs while the state continues to grapple with fundamental infrastructure issues like poor roads, inadequate education, and a lack of clean water. As a central party, the BJP has failed to advocate effectively for the people’s rights, choosing instead to hide behind the NPP.
In stark contrast, smaller parties like the VPP have made a tangible impact in the state. The people have entrusted them with the chance to bring about much-needed change. For the BJP to establish a foothold in Meghalaya, it must empower local youth leaders who are educated and capable of driving real transformation.
The state’s urgent needs in transportation, education, and infrastructure require immediate attention. The BJP should prioritize providing the Inner Line Permit (ILP) and including the Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. Mere token gestures like filing RTIs from air-conditioned rooms are insufficient; the party must engage directly with the people and develop a comprehensive strategy to address their needs.
If the BJP fails to adapt and respond to these challenges, it risks becoming irrelevant in Meghalaya.
Yours etc.,
R Sarki,


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