What is happening to Meghalaya? How can Khasi society keep silent? Why didn’t the police book the whole lot of ‘perverts’ under POSCO? Meghalaya Times Editor Thomas Lim expresses his anguish:
The shameful act where a 14 year old girl was sexually assaulted by at least 13 persons, including a legislator and a 66 years old man has been in the limelight of late in Meghalaya and beyond.
Yet the general masses do not feel the need to oppose such a brutal act, which not only exposes the entire community to the threat of such sex rackets, but also tests our trust in Law Makers such as the rape accused legislator Julius Dorphang. What is even worse is the statement made by the Mawhati Constituency Political Committee (MCPC) which had given a clean chit to their elected representative, calling him a “Good Man”.
Except for a joint call by Civil Society Women’s Organization (CSWO) and the Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) in the state capital, while the Achik Youth Council (AYC) from Tura have mobilized the public to oppose rape cases on the rise in the state through public rally, there is no quarter of so-called sensible society or right thinking citizens who have raised any condemnation of such a shameful act.
Besides Dorphang, the victim also identified other perverts including an official with Indian Oil Corporation, Jowai, a professor of a city college, an army officer and others who are co-existing within the vicinity of the victim and acquaintance of her guardians who have forced her into the flesh trade.
Meanwhile, Dorphang has been remanded to 14 days Judicial Custody after the East Khasi hills police did not seek an extension of the five days police custody which ended on January 12, 2017. While in Police Custody, the Police claimed that Mawhati legislator, Dorphang has confessed to his crime of raping the minor before police. Although he is yet to make the same statement in the Court, it is worthwhile to understand the mind of the MCPC as to how they gave a clean chit to the accuse. How do they take back their words which were made through a Press Conference?
Regarding the general masses, it is strange how they manage to remain mere spectators. It is more shameful to know that most of the accused are indigenous tribals, an ex-militant turned politician and other members belonging to the elite society. Secondly, the victim is from a poor family so also her family members are lesser known members in the society.
Even in normal Law and Order maintenance, if the accused be it for theft, assault, cheating or inciting communal conflicts are tribals, they are excused on the spot. In case they belong to other communities, they are beaten black and blue before being handed over to the Police. This is also happening in this shameful case where a 14 year old girl was sexually assaulted.
This victim is demanding nothing but justice for herself, after she managed to escape from one of such encounter, where she was being forced to entertain her client arranged by her Guardian from a Guest House – Marvelene Inn, owned by the incumbent Home Minister H Donkupar Roy Lyngdoh’s son, who claimed ignorance of such sex trafficking activities taking place in the establishment.
In most cases, the religious and the educational institutions are expected to restore the ethic and morality in the society. In this case where the accused besides a law maker includes city college professor, Defence personnel and high officials, how does one expect all such institutions of their own respect to protect the society?
We all need to hang our heads down in shame over this sordid affair and wait for the Judiciary to exercise its wisdom.
But society at large , it seems, has already given its verdict that any individual victim who is poor does not deserve sympathy, so also the affluent and indigenous tribals cannot be accused of any crime. This attitude makes one to wonder, do we really exist in the 21st century as part of a civilized society, or are we living in a world of superficial pride and cosmetic empathy based on status and political clout.
[Thomas Lim is the Editor of Meghalaya Times]