The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly has earned the distinct acknowledgement as one of the best and highly valued places of debates amongst the August Houses in the world. The very foundation is now at stake as the sitting representative from Mawhati constituency, Julius Dorphang - militant turned politician and the founder Chairman of the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) is wanted for allegedly sexually exploiting a 14 year-old girl. The minor girl was rescued from a Guest House owned by incumbent Home Minister H Donkupar Roy Lyngdoh’s son last month where she escaped from the clutches of the pimps.
As the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court issued an Arrest Warrant for Dorphang on January 4, 2017, who is also supporting the ruling Congress government, he was booked under section 366 (A) of the IPC and registered with section 3 (a)/4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) and under section 5 of the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA).
Earlier, as many as 5 persons have been arrested in connection with this case. During the last couple of weeks, the police had arrested an employee of Marvelene’s Inn, three women pimps, identified as Mamuni Parveen, Tarisha Mary Kharbamon, Mona Lisa Shangpliang (22) and 22-year-old Madan Bahadur Thapa of Jhalupara.
A rally in solidarity with the victim will be held on January 11 next at the State Capital- Shillong, to protest against the alleged tolerance showed by higher authorities to the rampant human trafficking and flesh trade in the state, various NGOs and the general masses have expressed worry over the threats posed to the safety and security of women and children in Meghalaya, a connection which involves many people including influential persons of the state of matrilineal society.
Meanwhile the Meghalaya Speaker, Abu Taher Mondal has remained silent over the issues, particularly when the privileges of the elected members were at stake. It is strange how the State Police have registered a case against the elected member who is reportedly on the run to avoid arrest. Of course, Dorphang is yet to be proven guilty by the Judiciary, but the very allegation has tarnished the sanctity of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, which the Speaker cannot remain as a mere spectator to the turn of events, which immediately attracts the Breach of Privilege of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
The same August House which has had the privilege to host one of the SAARC Ministerial Meetings focusing specifically on Environment in the year 1986 which had put the August House to the limelight in South East Asian countries. The good name of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly was kept flying high with pride through numerous National and International conferences.
The 125 year old structure, constructed of pinewood in 1874 for Meghalaya Legislative Assembly was gutted on January 9, 2001 around 5 p.m., till date the permanent structure for the Conduct of the House is still in the processes for finding the location to meet the demand of growing population and congested state headquarters.
The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly having rich traditional values needs to develop both the conduct of the House and also the concrete structure of the House besides motivating the members to further improve the standards of debate, but the incident of Marvelene’s Inn involving an elected member should attract the attention of the Speaker.
As the world is debating on the security of the women and girls and even as the New Year eve shame which occurred in Benguluru is making headlines, Meghalaya too is entrapped in various rape cases, the society will surely look up on the District Administration, more so on the Legislators to frame stringent laws, but in this case the Law Maker himself is in question, the general masses are at a loss.
Unlike the NGOs and various citizens of other states who would have taken out mass protest against such anti-social activities, Meghalaya is silent on these issues. As this particular case involves a Law Maker, and some influential people of the society it have made news headlines, but this is just the tip of the iceberg of the huge racket of human trafficking and flesh trade in Meghalaya to which the society has remained apathetic, ignoring the pain and cries of various victims and social activists.
This racket involving all sections of the society is decaying the very root of our rich Cultural and Traditional practices of the so-called state of God Fearing citizens. Mr Speaker Sir, let the Law take its own course to investigate the infamous Marvelene’s Inn case, it is time to speak out and restore the Good will of the Assembly and the society in particular.