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Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Shillong editor seeks action against youths who beat non-tribals, faces police case

The complaint was filed on Monday by the Dorbar Shnong of Lawsohtun — Dorbar Shnongs are traditional Khasi village governing bodies.

Written by Abhishek Saha | Guwahati | Published: July 8, 2020 2:13:15 am
The Shillong Times editor Patricia Mukhim.

A police case was filed on Tuesday against The Shillong Times editor Patricia Mukhim over a Facebook post in which she demanded legal action against a group of youths who allegedly assaulted six non-tribal youths playing basketball in Lawsohtun on July 3.

The complaint was filed on Monday by the Dorbar Shnong of Lawsohtun — Dorbar Shnongs are traditional Khasi village governing bodies.

East Khasi Hills SP Sylvester Nongtnger told The Indian Express, “A case has been filed and investigation is on.”

According to Meghalaya Police, on July 3 unidentified youths armed with iron roads and sticks assaulted Arindam Deb, Subharshi Das Purkayastha, Saptarshi Das Purkayastha, Binak Deb, Bishal Ghosh and Pritish Deb, who were playing basketball. A criminal case was registered and 11 suspects were picked up.

In an official statement on July 4, the police had issued a “stern warning to any individual who incites or breach communal peace and harmony…”

On July 4, Mukhim tagged Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and wrote on Facebook that the incident was “unacceptable”. She wrote, “The attackers, allegedly tribal boys with masks on, should be immediately booked. This continued attack on non-tribals in Meghalaya whose ancestors have lived here for decades, some having come here since the British period, is reprehensible to say the least. The fact that such attackers and trouble mongers since 1979 have never been arrested, and if arrested never penalised according to law, suggests that Meghalaya has been a failed state for a long time now.”

She also wrote, “…what about the Dorbar Shnong of the area? Don’t they have their eyes and ears to the ground? Don’t they know criminal elements in their jurisdiction?…. This is the time to rise above community interests, caste and creed and call out for justice.”

In the police complaint, Lurshai Shylla, headman, and Bankhrawkupar Sohtun, secretary, of Dorbar Shnong of Lawsohtun, wrote that Mukhim’s Facebook post “incites communal tension and may instigate a communal conflict which may spread to the State…”

They stated that because her post mentioned the 1979 violence, “some media houses in West Bengal had publicised the issue by giving a communal colour thereby putting all Khasis outside the state in extreme danger.”

Shillong has seen violence against “outsiders” several times. The targets were Bengalis in 1979, Nepalis in 1987, and Biharis in 1992. In 2018, Shillong saw clashes between Khasis and Punjab-origin Dalit Sikhs.

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