As the government and the stakeholders are doing the diagnosis over the pitiful road skirmish between some women and a driver of a Shillong Public Transport Service bus at Them Meteor, which led to an assault of three persons on May 31 comprising the bus conductor, the sons and nephew of the driver, matters had taken an ugly turn as things were blown out of proportion as the rumors through social media spiraled the situation out of control resulting in imposition of curfew in the state capital after 15 years. The government had acknowledge that action was not taken immediately as they were also caught unawares due to conflicting reports.
Law and order is now limping back to normalcy, but the district administration is still taking the precaution of not revoking the night curfew. Till date the East Khasi Hills District Magistrate, Peter S Dkhar is yet to exercise his power conferred upon him under Section 144 CrPC to declare unlawful gathering of more than five persons and not to carry any lethal weapons, whereas, the government is collecting all the names of people who have seek First-Aid or be hospitalized due to riots and stone pelting. If any action is taken, it will surely spark yet more violence in the state capital.
As mentioned, the road skirmish that erupted into the Shillong violence on May 31 was due to traffic congestion and scarcity of drinking water supply in the urban areas, unfortunately, this time the squabble over the collection of water was not within the habitants of the same locality, which is a common issue in different localities. This was between two communities who were on the spot for different reasons. It is now being suspected by the state government that there is a new trend of ‘mercenary agitators’ supported by someone from outside to agitate with the intention of making a debacle of the administrative structure of peaceful Meghalaya.
People with vested interests have taken advantage of the long buried conflicts between Tribals and Non-tribal, which was like a dormant volcano, requiring just a ‘crack’ to erupt, or the communal riots in the case of Meghalaya. Hence, the stakeholders must come together to defeat the motive of such anti-social elements.
The undercurrent of fear and the scar caused by the communal conflicts about one and a half decades back is yet to be healed, however, this time almost every locality had done its duties by not allowing this resurrect and have maintained peace and harmony, braring few localities under the under Lumdiengjri Police Station, that is, Jaiaw, Mawkhar, Umsohsun, Riatsamthiah, Wahingdoh, Mission, Mawprem, Lumdiengjri, Lamavilla, Qualapatty, Wahthapbru, Sunny Hill, Cantonment, Mawlong Hat including Cantonment Beat House Areas (excluding localities beyond Umshyrpi bridge) due to its proximity to Them-Iewmowlong or the Shillong’s Punjabi Lane that is also known as the Sweeper’s Colony.
The agitated protestors, according to the preliminary reports of the Intelligence Agency, are mostly youth, and many are experiencing curfew for the first time or are getting to know the pinch of the same as about 15 years back, they were too young to understand the impact. This is definitely the point to ponder, if the suspicions of the government that some anti-social elements are involved, will not help the investigating agencies to reach the real root-cause.
It is understood that the 46 – year old Meghalaya is now under the custody of second generation after it have been carved out from the than United Assam due to Language Bill, but the political ascendancies and the Babu culture of the Bureaucrats did not change, the practice of favouritism and red-tapetism still persist, this have led to the feeling of alienation of many educated youths in the state, such frustration have now taken a shape of depression, and the violent action in the last few days is said tobe an opportunity to vent their individual aggravation towards the system- Governance.
By the year 2022, just four years away, Meghalaya will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Statehood, yet the successive governments are yet to generate avenues for employment. All the indigenous youths have just one focus- Government jobs, which are saturated now and no one is willing to take the risk of venturing into entrepreneurship barring a few. This has further resulted in unemployment which can be termed as Artificial Unemployment which has only increased the figures of the educated unemployed.
Therefore, if the government does not streamline the basic necessities like the civic services from proper supply of drinking water, traffic management, creating employment and removing political ascendancies, which only benefits the creamy layers in the society, than such possibility of venting their depression by damaging the public properties and at the spark of the even that can led to law and order breakdown will be the common event. It is time the over three – month - old Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) led by National People’s Party (NPP) headed by Conrad Kongkal Sangma to call all the stakeholders and trash out ways and means to generate employment avenues instead of doing the diagnosis of the May 31 violence. Then only will peace and tranquillity prevail.