Human Rights Commission should take note of kidnappings in Meghalaya

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Representational Image. (Image credit: The Indian Express)

The rampant kidnapping activities in the hill state of Meghalaya never seem to take a rest and have resulted in the state being tagged as a place where militancy and other anti-social activities have become an industry. Kidnapping is most active in Garo Hills and the neighbouring districts as of now and has infused a fear psychosis in the citizens residing in the area. Developmental works too have been affected as the work forces are not spared.

A massive rally call by the United Achik Youth Federation (UAYF) demanding the release of a student kidnapped by a group of miscreants as well as condemning such criminal acts was organized on January 23, 2019 at Ranikor. This started from Nalikata to the office of the Civil Sub Division. The rally was supported by the Block Development Officers and Police officials of the Block.

It may be reminded that a 17 year old Ambruis N Marak of Rajai village in Ranikor Civil Sub Division in the month of December last was abducted by a group of criminals and is yet to be released. The protesters demanded the immediate release of the student, also sending a strong voice against such criminals and unwanted anti social elements in their border district. It was an extremely unfortunate crime that happened against an innocent boy and is an act of cowards, stated UAYF President, Sangra Marak.

It is strange that the Human Right Commission never took note of the self-styled industry called kidnapping, which not only violates an individual’s rights, by forcefully detains a person against their will, worst so for ransom. The kidnapper does not spare minors, women, government officials, teachers, contractors to drivers, daily wages labours. One need to just name either the age group, sex or profession, the kidnappers did not leave out anyone, which should attract the attention of the Human Rights Commission of the nation, throughout Asia and Internationally as well.

There are so many legal provisions for the protection of the women and children, be it the protection of the name and faces of the minor in any litigation which cannot be published by the media, also for the women. The police personnel will not arrest, detain or question any female in the absence of women police personnel, which are some of these provisions.

Even in the International Humanitarian Law adopted in the Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949, Articles 76 and 77, 15 and 79 provide special protection for women, children, and civilian medical personnel besides providing measures for the protection for journalists.

Hence, the actions of the kidnappers and other anti-social elements who randomly kidnap women, children and para-medical practitioners is violating such international law, which should attract the attention of the Human Rights Activists.

Such action also applies to human trafficking, for forcefully removing the children or women from their respective place. The internationally agreed upon definition of trafficking, defined in the United Nations (UN) protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

In the North East region of India, trafficking of women and children takes place within the states in the region and other states in India, and also across the borders of Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal due to poverty and unemployment, declining traditional economy, militarization and armed conflict, urbanization, migration, displacement, proximity to the international border and influx of security personnel, businessmen and others, according to NGOs devoted to educating vulnerable communities and trying to break down the factors which are enabling human trafficking.

The problem in the North East is quite distinct from the rest of India. We share borders with many countries, stretches of which are open and unmanned. These points provide an easy passage in and out of India for organized human trafficking syndicates to operate undetected.

The above mention incidents are being opposed tooth and nail by all right thinking citizens, so why not also oppose the kidnapping of children and women. This is being done for ransom and violates Human Rights and most important of all, International Law too which has special provisions to protect this section of the society, while the kidnappers do not shy away to abduct them, it is time the right thinking citizens raise their voices against these acts, particularly in Meghalaya.