OPINION | Meghalaya: The Tyranny of Moral Police in Shillong


"Those without sins can cast the first stone" – says Jesus Christ to a group of men who were ready to stone a lady to death because she was an adulterer.

The reason why reference is given to the above biblical verse arises from the recent inhumane action perpetrated by the moral police—the so-called Seng Longkmie of Pynthorbah located in the state of Meghalaya against the three girls who were alleged of creating nuisance and committing indecent acts.

While their attempts to become watchdogs of society is highly appreciated, however, their 'I am good and she is bad' attitude is unacceptable as their action amounts to character assassination and tainting someone else's life and prospects of a better future.

Worse of all, these women who were recently detained but later released were proud of their actions and claimed that such indecent acts will not be tolerated in their locality and to top it all, the Rangbah Shnong of this particular locality, instead of settling the matter, justified the women's act as a necessary step to prevent any unwanted elements from committing any kinds of offence in their respective locality.

It may be stated that no mention or clarification has been given by either the so called Seng Longkmie or even the Rangbah Shnong of the locality as to what did they mean by the term- 'indecent acts', 'unwanted elements' or 'offence'. Also,  the 'offence' of the three girls in question was never specified. As per the protectors of morality, in the statement of the Rangbah Shnong himself, "Walking late at night at a different place and time", is a dangerous crime which invites punishment that involves assault of individuals, particularly girls.

Moral Policing: It is true that moral values is degrading in the state also known as 'Ka Ri tip briew tip Blei', but reviving the same through forceful and hateful approaches is infact a reflection of their un-evolved nature which doesn't tally with the above adage: Tip briew Tip Blei because they really understood the meaning of the phrase, they wouldn't have abused and cut their hair in public.

So the question is- How far are women safe in a society which considers themselves above the law and robb people off their right to defend themselves and freedom of movement.

What is more outrageous is the fact that only the girls were taken into task and not the boys who were seen along with the girls and how the vigilante group defended the boys saying 'This is their first time and they are unlucky to be seen with these girls'. And we talk about equal rights!

It is true that our society is faced with many challenges and has witnessed many crimes but that does not give us the right to murder, assault, abuse and defame someone in the name of 'watchers of society' else we would be no less than a lawless country.

The question that also arise out of this act is that are we as human beings evolved enough or is it that human beings are savage by nature? "Human beings are savage by nature and are moved by primal urges towards selfishness,brutality and dominance over others", says William Golding.

So the lines by Golding shows how we as humans if innate savagery lurks in our heart, rather than follow rules succumb to fall in violence.Then this shows that the vigilante group took law in their hands and shoved away civility and rationality.

If a woman is oppressed by its own kind(women) then what do we expect? Will the other kind respect us and treat us the way we want it to be..Well No is the answer. We condemn the so called Gau-rakshak of the RSS and moral police every now and then but are these so called seng-longkmie any different from them?

At a place and time when we have created a hype about protecting our freedom of speech and expression, the non conformation to a political party that tries to ruin the society by an ideology of its own kind, it becomes important to introspect a little bit more into ourselves- how we think things and most of all, how we perceive it to be! As responsible members of the society, it is, but natural to be vigilant of certain behaviors that might pose a threat to the society but abusing, torturing, assaulting and tainting the image of youth who have a future ahead of them is an intolerable aspect of anybody's action and no amount of punishment can bring the victims out of their agony.

-Ibankyntiew Mawrie, Natasha Dkhar & Shweta Raj Kanwar

DISCLAIMER: The opinion expressed in the article belong to the writers and TNT-The Northeast Today does not subscribe to the same views.