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Saturday, March 2, 2024



Angela Rangad

The firing at Mukroh on 22.11.22 that claimed 6 lives and injured several others is bringing more losses and we need to address the following to stop further loss and destruction…

1. Protests against the unacceptable firing has led to destruction of public property and attack on other fellow citizens. This is wrong and unacceptable. Violence is not the answer to violence. Why did candle light vigil attendees storm civil hospital shattering glass and chasing women police. Why were passerbys including the elderly targetted and beaten? These are acts of rowdy troublemakers who did not think of the patients nor the passersby and all of us should condemn what happened last evening. Their intent was to cause trouble, not to show concern for Mukroh or to press for govt. action. These elements need to be booked. Administration should not pander to groups whose activities always leads to chaos on the streets. Shops downed their shutters, vendors packed their wares, people scurried home. THE LOSS IS OURS.

2. Reports that what led to the chase, and eventual firing at Mukroh, was a truck smuggling timber from Assam needs to be made clearer to us all. We the public need to know whose truck was it? Which / whose forests? Whose consignment of timber? There definitely are resource mafias ( timber, coal, stone, etc) operating between Assam and Meghalaya and illegal extraction and transportation always heighten in the months of end October – April when it is dry and trucks can venture deeper into the forests. There is also a politician-police-forest guards/ dept- check gate operators- non state actors nexus in all of this. Those caught in the fire or trapped or prosecuted are always just the labourers who are trying to eke out a daily wage from such illicit trade. The nexus is protected while our forests are getting depleted, our rivers polluted. THE LOSS IS OURS.

3. While big players eye and extract the timber and the coal, our communities who depend on renewable natural resources of the forests and rivers are prevented from exercising their right to the forest and its non timber forest produce. Their relationship with the forests are severed and their skills of natural resource management undermined. They are seen as trespassing and deemed illegal. While those actually bleeding the forests are assured safe passage. THE LOSS IS OURS.

4. The internet ban has come at a time when students are having exams. It has meant no livelihood for those engaged as rapido riders or other internet based services. THE LOSS IS OURS

5. Interruption to vehicles coming from Assam and Threats to them has meant a rise in fares. It has led to a potential strike by oil tankers and transporters. This will push up prices of essential commodities. Tourism has taken a hit, and so also all those who make a living off this sector, not just big hoteliers but rural homestays, tea shops, guides, tourist taxi drivers…THE LOSS IS OURS


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