How civilised is ‘Matrilineal Meghalaya’ when it comes to women?


If mutual respect and brotherhood are the baselines of a developed society then a portion of the civilised claim of Meghalaya may have very well been buried beneath the rubbles of moral degradation and values with graph of crime against women rising ever steadily.

A momentous heinous deed that traumatises the very essence of womanhood for years cannot be just a random act of uncontrolled desire but a doorway to the harsh reality of a distorted mindset that has plagued the society at large.

This factor has to some extent, caused Meghalaya its charm and its ancient and inherited trait of being a matrilineal state, where woman are highly respected and honoured.

This can be very well gauged by the alarming rate of crime committed against women in the state.

In 2016 alone (from Jan to April), as many as 120 cases of crime against women was registered with the police, and from this, 33 are registered rape cases while 4 cases were registered as an attempt to rape, with 2 cases registered as murder cases.

In 2015, as many as 334 cases were registered with the police with 93 rape cases, 5 gang rape cases, 23 attempt to rape cases. Though, gang rape was never heard in the state before, the same however, took shape couple of years back when many such cases were reported. In 2015, 1 gang rape case was registered in EKH and EJH and 3 in Ri Bhoi.

Breaking the 2015 figures district-wise, EKH acquired the top spot with 105 crime cases committed against women followed by Ri Bhoi with 66 cases, WGH with 58 cases, NGH with 21 cases, SWGH with 20 cases, WJH with 17 cases, EJH with 15 cases, WKH with 11 cases, EGH with 8 cases, SGH with 7 cases and SWKH with 7 cases.

During the recent interaction with the chairperson of Meghalaya State Women Commission, Theilin Phanbuh, she said with the statistics available with the police, the rate of crime committed against women has raised the concern of many and stressed that a cohesive and cooperative approach is needed to tackle this anti-women plague.

She also maintained that other than rape cases, the commission has witnessed many cases like domestic violence and the problems faced by single mothers. She said that domestic violence are usually referred to the district protection officer of the social welfare department while rape cases are referred to the police.

"The commission handles other cases like maintenance and the problems faced by the single mothers. The absence of a strong marriage act has given rise to the problem of single mothers and there is a need to percolate the information on marriage act, domestic violence act besides others down to the rural areas," Phanbuh said.

When asked about the rate of rape cases in the state, the MSWC chief said that the figures has gone up but it doesn't mean that the statistics are accurate as there are many cases especially in the rural areas where rape cases goes unreported and the same ends up in compromise.

(By Ibankyntiew Mawrie)

(Featured Image: Aljazeera)