SHILLONG, Jan 27: Meghalaya joined the nation in celebrating the 70th Republic on Saturday under the shadow of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 (CAB). Even as state government made adequate arrangements and organized various events to ensure the day is celebrated with pomp and gaiety, the celebrations were slightly off the colours due to many organizations and politicians boycotting the celebrations as resentment against the contentious bill.
Understanding the situation, which has gripped the entire region and not just Meghalaya, the speeches of Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy and Chief Minister Conrad Sangma put major stress on urging people to maintain peace and harmony.
Unfurling the tricolor in Shillong, Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy reminded that a hard-working, resilient and peace loving population has always been the strength of many great nations.
“People of our beautiful state have always been imbued by these values and principles. Even during our movement for Statehood, we had abided by these principles and democratic ethos. Being fully aware that violence is never the way out for any problem, we should always resort to solve problems through meaningful dialogue and peaceful engagement,” he urged the people in his Republic Day speech.
He appealed to all the citizens of the state to hold steadfastly to the ideals and principles of democracy to achieve all-round development.
He stressed that all measures being taken to ensure safety and security for all the citizens, with particular emphasis on combating crimes against women and children and human trafficking.
Conrad urges all to maintain peace and harmony
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who unfurled the tricolour and took the salute at a parade in Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills, called upon the people to join hands in “our ongoing endeavour to maintain peace and harmony so that the state can forge ahead on the path of growth and development.
“We renew our commitment today to respond to the call of duty to serve our people with love and compassion and in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Constitution.
“We firmly believe that, together, we will help our people realise their dreams and aspirations and pave the way for a secured future,” Sangma added.
He also recalled the major law and order breach cases in the state last year and how his government tackled them.
Governor reminiscences his childhood memories of Shillong
“The year was 1951, I was 6 years old and I had come to see the celebrations with my mother and my cousin with whom we then lived in Lower Jail Road. One such cousin, aged 84, is sitting among the audience.”
“The Polo Ground then was huge expanse of greenery, and from the Golf Club you could see all the way across to New Colony. We saw the Governor of Assam, Shri Jairamdas Daulatram, taking the salute and I pestered my mother with questions about the Governor.”
“I was impressed to see that the Governor’s car did not have any number plate but just a word ASSAM in its place. Little could I imagine that one day, nearly 70 years later, I will be standing here to take the salute. These old memories have endeared the town of Shillong to me as no other town has,” he said before concluding his Republic Day speech.