EDITORIAL | Rise of HNLC in Meghalaya shows failure of Home Minister Rymbui
FROM THE EDITOR's DESK:
An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast rocked the market of Laitumkhrah in the early hours of Tuesday evening. This is the second blast in the state in less than a month with the first taking place at a police reserve in East Jaintia Hills. Responsibility for both blasts has been claimed by the proscribed group Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC).
The HNLC modus operandi is not to be taken as a pure act of terror, but as an open challenge to the state’s security machinery as they first attacked a security infrastructure directly and then targetted the centre of the capital city, Shillong. It is clear and needs no hearsay – outfits like HNLC are on the rise and whatever our Home Minister Lakhmen Rymbui is doing in this regard is not enough.
For security infrastructure to be strengthened, the machinery needs to be proactive rather than reactive. Our country has learnt one of the biggest lessons on the need to be prepared after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, where massive overhauls were made to the National Security Guards (NSG) soon after the attacks. However, it seems like in Meghalaya, the wait is for things to get more serious (or rather worse) along with greater ire from the public. Until that happens, Rymbui is satisfied massaging balm over the anxiety of people to maintain his public image. And for the citizens of Meghalaya, we are caught in a crossfire between political naming and shaming.
Democracy indeed demands a level of debate for the maintenance of political balance. But if out of the debate comes no action, there will soon come a day when we will see off our loved ones to work every morning, but will constantly be worried about their safety. For Rymbui, even if it is for the rawest form of political agenda with 2023 elections at sight, when will he initiate any stringent action?
Rymbui has outrightly denied any intelligence failure after the blasts at East Jaintia Hills. He even went on record saying that it is because of strong intelligence that suspects could be nabbed in 24 hours. It sounds rather ironic when Rymbui talks of intelligence because the purpose of intelligence is not to come to action after an attack has taken place, rather before it.
After the Laitumkhrah blast today, what do we make of Rymbui's handling of intelligence and the security of the people of Meghalaya? Events suggest he has failed us.