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Meghalaya Home Minister Horju Donkupar Roy Lyngdoh on Tuesday said that the law will take its own course if even his own kin was found involved in the sex racket in the guest house owned by his son.
“I have done no wrong and I have no knowledge at all,” Lyngdoh said while replying to a special motion in the assembly on increasing atrocities against women and children. The motion was moved by opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) legislator Paul Lyngdoh.
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Supporting the motion, opposition Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit demanded that the Home Minister step down to ensure free and fair investigation into the trafficking and rape of a minor girl.
“I appeal to the Home Minister to step down to ensure an impartial investigation into the matter and to ensure justice to the victim,” the HSPDP legislator said.
Basaiawmoit said former Governor V. Shanumganathan had resigned from his post after he was accused of turning “Raj Bhavan into young ladies club”, as claimed by Raj Bhavan staff in their petition to the President and the Prime Minister.
Four people had separately raped the 14-year-old girl at the Marvelene’s Inn, the guest house which is run by Lyngdoh’s son Nathaniel Osbert Rymmai.
The Meghalaya Police have arrested 16 people, including Independent legislator Julius Kitbok Dorphang, for the sexual abuse of the 14-year-old at various guest houses and a government-owned resort.
“If my kin are involved or are in the know, there should be action against them as per law of the land,” the Home Minister said while informing the assembly that he had not interfered and had given the police a free hand to ensure that the law takes its own course against anybody involved.
Lyngdoh said that being the Home Minister of the state did not mean that he was also a “watch dog”, and went on to add that crime could happen anywhere, anytime and no one could prevent it.
The Home Minister also informed the assembly that as per surveys, violence against women and children were mostly perpetrated by neighbours, friends, known persons and even family members.
He called for a comprehensive effort from the society and educational and religious institutions to combat the ills.
Earlier, moving the special motion, Paul Lyngdoh said Meghalaya, which was predominantly matrilineal society, had sunk to such depths that violence against women and children could be seen in every sector and all age groups, and that the evil had entered even the precincts of the house.
“A legislator is in jail. The name of the Home Minister has also been dragged into it and even the former Governor has been named for being involved in misconduct towards women,” he said.
“We have reached a point where incidents of rapes and molestations may become common place and people may take it as normal and they will not react to it,” the UDP leader said.
Fearing that Meghalaya could be the next after New Delhi, which had been dubbed as the “rape capital”, to figure in the foreign advisory to travellers, Paul Lyngdoh said: “How do we sell Meghalaya as a brand outside with such reports of rape in the state?”
“Delhi has got a huge hit as even foreign countries have issued advisory to the travellers… I don’t want Shillong to figure in such advisory.”