A constituency where people fear to meet their representative

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Front Page

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, March 17: What could be more worse for a public representative than his people fearing him, the very same people who elected him to power. But this is happening in Garo Hills, specifically in Gambegre constituency in West Garo Hills.
Electorates from the Gambegre constituency fear to meet or even talk about their legislator, Independent legislator Saleng A Sangma, who was also the C&RD minister in the previous government. But this fear is not created by Saleng but the militants, who oppose the young legislator. In fact, prior to the state assembly election 2013 on February 23, some of his supporters were beaten up by militants and some even killed and others were instructed to vote for Congress instead of the independent legislator.

While he retained his seat and defeated his nearest rival with over 3000 votes, some electorates in remote villages are still under fear-psychosis and evade him.
“Life in Garo hills is like living life in a ghost town (on the militancy affected villages),” Saleng said while describing the appalling situation among his supporters who cannot even approach him for any help while such areas are too under – developed for any other assistance to arrive.
Speaking to Meghalaya Times, Saleng revealed that “even today if I happen to go to different villages of Garo Hills (meaning Gambegre constituency) people are scared to come and share their views and problems.”
“They are scared in the sense that the outfit (GNLA) may come and attack them thinking this is the guy who supported me as a legislator,” Saleng informed while expressing concern over the “big problem”.
According to him, there are atleast 15 to 20 villages wherein such situation prevails. He now only ponders on how he can develop such villages and help the residents there. One such strategy in this direction is to work collaboratively with the government.
“The only way we can bring development in these areas is we should understand the government and join hands. I cannot do this alone. Everyone such as the district officers, police and the government should work hand to hand,” Saleng opines.
But, currently in the 9th Meghalaya legislatively Assembly, the Independent legislator sits in the Opposition Bench.


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