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Train plight - Insecurity amidst security

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Letter to Editor

Editor,
On 07-01-2015 my family, all females, and 3 kids boarded a train (Number 12516) from Guwahati which left at 6:30 am heading to Chennai. On reaching Kuch Bihar a mob without tickets boarded the train and immediately started bossing everyone around, forcefully occupying other passengers' seats, pushing them out of their seats, using foul languages. My wife and her six year old kid faced the same trauma. The Traveling Ticket Examiner instead of confronting them - ran away. The Police vanished - probably too scared, and they are supposed to be protectors of society. What's more, these rowdies looking at my family started questioning among themselves - "Who are these people, they don't look like Indians, I think they are Nepalese, Nepalese aren't Indians, they should be thrown out of the train". My wife speaks hindi. I can imagine how frightened she must have been. Just because these hooligans are ignorant, we were turned outsiders in our own country. My wife called me at 5pm and told me about what happened, I could hear my son crying in the background - "Mei why don't you call the Police?". Police? The police are hiding in the toilet and I am here in Shillong , what could i do? Immediately, I dailed the so called 24x7 railway helpline number 011-23340000 that was on the ticket when printed, since I booked the tickets online. The number was out of service, just my luck. I tried another number 011-39340000 - also a 24x7 railway helpline number. I was greeted by a female voice in the form of an IVR telling me to hold on, then some sweet music came on, and finally when the music was all played out, it rang. After a while a male voice answered - the whole waiting process was more than 5 minutes. The guy online sounded as if he was not in the mood to speak to anyone. I told him about my plight and he gave me another number - a helpline number/complaint number 1800112511. I called the number, the phone rang, and rang, but there was no response . I tried many times but to no avail. I posted my complaint on my facebook page hoping for someone to help me out. A friend advised me to call the NE Railway AGM, number 0361-2676002. I did, but there was no answer. He then advised me to call the number 1322 - Indian railway helpline for ladies, action will be taken in the next station. I tried calling that number, the phone rang, but again, no answer. By God’s grace my family was okay, they got down at Howrah station and stayed in Kolkata and booked a flight. My son and the other kids were scared, really scared. What's more, he believed in the Police since he saw on TV that the Police always does good things. Now he will believe he is disillusioned. Where was the TT ? where was the Indian Railway Police Force? Aren't they supposed to protect the genuine passengers? What about the helpline numbers? Aren't they supposed to work? Shouldn't the employees in the call center supposed to pick up the call in the 1st ring or 2nd ring? I know that people who have travelled by train will say that this is normal. Should these incidents be treated as normal? Then we won't need the service of the TT and the Indian Railway Police Force, do we? A few weeks back a train was robbed in Bihar and as per reports, the passengers says that the Police Force instead of protecting the passengers - vanished. A police Force that holds guns but at the same time disappears in thin air at the first sight of trouble. I don't have a grudge against anyone here, but what if my family had been harmed, who will take responsibility? I would feel that the onus would lie on the hands of those people who had pledged to protect us. If you are too scared to do it, step down, find another job. Meghalaya has recently been in the news for having two outstanding journalists who were recently given National Awards. I pray that kindly do something about this. I know it's an uphill task because the Railway authority is not interested in doing anything. And when incidents like this happen it's always us the North Easterners who are targeted, because we look different, our features are different. I have faith that your voices will be heard. Moreover you were recognised for your hardwork and perseverance. What if my son grows up with the feeling that " I will shoh dkhar", because once upon a time he was traumatised by these same dkhars? It's a tough choice, a tough feeling since for quite a while, before I was married I had been roommates with Biharis, Nepalese, Bengalees, Brahmins and my children call them Uncles.


 

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Disbalancing the gift of nature

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Letter to Editor

Respected Editor,
Through this letter, I would like to mention that the city of Shillong being the largest hill station in the country has been gradually moving ahead to lose its natural beauty due to growing of a concrete jungle in an around the city in the name of development. It is not wrong to say that the years of old natural beauty of the city have almost been submerged with a concrete jungle leaving little trace for old traditional houses which sometimes the visitors talked about. In the name of development at private/public sectors, mainly confined with construction of high rise buildings (more than G+3), ignoring the safety norms against earthquake and its future catastrophic affect which may invite severe destruction of men and materials. Since the area falls in Seismic Zone V, the High Court of Meghalaya had passed an order, banning construction of high rise buildings in and around the capital city, against a PIL filed by city based lawyer. In order to avoid any awaited catastrophe, the MUDA under the Government of Meghalaya, notwithstanding the said verdict, seemingly is yet to initiate any visible action. Under the circumstances, in case of any future eventuality, who is there to take responsibility? I hope, time will dictate the answer from the authority.

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The Hurtful Truth

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Letter to Editor

Sir,
It pains me immensely to see, hear daily of the breakdown of law and order in Garo Hills. I have been posted in different parts of Garo Hills for almost two decades now and consider it my own home. But sadly in recent times there has been utter chaos and lawlessness in Garo Hills and it saddens me to the core to see it turning from bad to worse day by day. It appears that the police department is fighting feverously against the tide but the current seems to be overwhelming them. The reason as to why I am quoting this is - only the police department is being blamed for this state of affairs and yet another fact is that the police department will never win the war against the militants and bring back peace and tranquility in Garo Hill. This is mainly because, in Garo Hills, the police department is not only fighting the militants like GNLA, ANVC but also the NGOs, the public and other government department employees who are perpetually trying their level best to malign and cripple the police department and bring it to its knees for no rhyme or reason instead of supporting it in its fight against terrorism, anti social elements and restoration of peace in Garo Hills. The police department till date has never given any rejoinder, and continues to remain silent even when being kicked and punched from all corners for reason best known to the critics but this silence is neither solving any issues nor improving the department’s public relations apart from restoring peace in the region.
I, as an ardent believer that Laws and Rules are absolute necessary in a civilized society, feel that someone should at least try to help the injured police department - the upholder and enforcer of laws to stand up and continue the fight against the enemies of the state, even when being bitten by a pack of stray dogs at same time. Don’t get me wrong! Because I am not a policeman but a neutral observer and after spending almost two decades in Garo Hills I have seen, heard and felt the bare truth. There is a saying which states - ‘Truth Hurts’ and what I am revealing from my personal experience and observation during my stay in Garo Hills, will definitely hurt many.

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The Truant Department

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Letter to Editor

Sir,
Firstly, the Education Department had advertisement for admission to the 2 year Diploma course in Elementary Education in the DIET  in the local newspaper during the month of March 2014. In the advertisement it has not mentioned that the application forms are to be sold to the candidate but to the utmost surprise it was found that the Application forms were sold at the rate of Rs.5/- and 10/- and only DIET Tura has sold the forms at the highest price of Rs.100/- each.
Secondly, it is an irony to believe that the candidate from Mawryngkneng Development Block got selected in the National-cum-Merit Examination conducted by the Directorate of Educational Research and Training without appearing the Examination at all.

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CULMINATION OF ELECTION EUPHORIA

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Letter to Editor

Sir,
The longest ever election trail in the history of Indian democracy culminated with the last phase of election slated for 12/5. Prior to that plodding exercise on election campaign for all the remaining parliamentary constituencies came to an end in the evening of 10/5. All the candidates irrespective of their party position in the country heaved a sigh of relief but practically for a very short duration. The overall progress reports of all the candidates involved in the election fray are likely to be finalised by the evening of 16/5 and all the Indians are hopefully expecting a favourable outcome and on which I am not an exception.  

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