Sporadic attacks on pedestrians, commuters and journalists during an ‘unemployment rally’ called by the Federation of Khasi Jaiñtia and Garo People (FKJGP) have attracted widespread condemnation from the citizens of the State.
“Beating up people on the road while rallying against unemployment is exactly why you are unemployed,” an unknown statement went viral on social media as many citizens took to social media handles of news outlets to condemn the unprovoked attack on innocent people.
New Dawn Meghalaya (NDM) East Shillong MLA candidate, Avner Medon Pariat said unemployment is a big issue but violence is not the solution. “These organisations take advantage of the frustration running in people’s veins to further their own agendas,” he added.
“This is not the first time. This will not be the last time. While we have government officials and MLAs who are extremely selfish and egocentric and apathetic to change, these outfits will mushroom out of the dirt every day and will make the life of the common citizen hard and difficult,” Pariat said.
“I feel strongly that we must demand complete stoppage of contract work/ infrastructure projects to those pressure group leaders who continue to incite violence and conflict within our society. The same leaders are often crorepatis having multiple properties around Meghalaya while their cadre are used as their pawns on every occasion. This must be stopped immediately and the government must cease bowing to these types of shoddy characters,” he said.
TUR and KAM Meghalaya in their condemnation letter said the acts of cowardice are unacceptable as violence not only harmed those attacked but put the citizens and passersby including children and women in harms way.
“It is also shocking that there was hardly any police presence all along the route and no action was taken even though the violence occurred while the rally was moving towards Fire Brigade ground. These perpetrators should have been caught and immediately apprehended and not allowed to proceed further,” they said.
Stating that the events today seem to point to a pre-planned attempt at fermenting unrest and instilling fear, where the government is conveniently looking away, TUR and KAM said, “This govt. comprising of NPP UDP, PDF, HSPDP, BJP and independents have totally failed the people. Unemployment is a real crisis in Meghalaya but violence and targeted violence particularly is not an answer but rather will accentuate the issue.”
Demanding immediate action against the perpetrators and to ensure undertakings signed with rally organisers are held to account the organisations said, “The courts should also take suo motu cognisance of the administrative lapses and targeted acts of violence.”
Meanwhile, the Meghalaya Editors’ and Publishers’ Association (MEPA) and the Shillong Press Club (SPC) have condemned highhandedness on two journalists, Riba Mary Suchiang of Batesi TV and Evangelist Khongwar of U Mawphor, who were performing their duty during the rally.
“The fact that the group of youths did not spare the two journalists even after they have identified themselves as journalists is something that is uncalled for and deplorable,” MEPA president R Monarch Shabong said.
The FKJGP should immediately identify the persons involved in the incident and take them to task as per law and also to apologise to the two journalists.
SPC president, David Laitphlang said it is appalled at the ugly incident. While appreciating the prompt action of the FKJGP President for apologising at the venue, the press club warned that trouble mongers who attempts to disrupt public peace will not go unnoticed.
It also urged the civil administration and police to treat the incident with utmost seriousness and deal with it in accordance with the law.