Introspection, clear vision for future must for govt., feel state intellectuals

The prominent personalities of the state felt that the way forward for the government is to try and win back public confidence.

(By Ibankyntiew Mawrie)


The series of incidents that have shaken Shillong city in the past few days calls for serious introspection into the current system of governance and a need to set a clear vision for the future, feels intellectuals of the state.

Opining on the shouting of pro-Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) slogans such as “Long live HNLC” on August 15 by some attendants of the funeral of former HNLC general secretary Cherish S. Thangkhiew,  renowned columnist Patricia Mukhim feels that it is a clear indication that something is amiss.

"It has never happened before — never in all those dark days when we were fighting against militancy have I ever heard anyone shouting publicly like that. Such incidents indicate that people just don't care anymore," she said.

Mukhim, who was active during the fight against militancy in the state, observed that resurgence of militancy is a possibility, "because there are too many frustrated youths who think the easiest way is to wield the gun."

Referring to opposition leader Dr Mukul Sangma's statement on "regrouping" of militants, Mukhim said the government and opposition are part of the same institution, and warnings such as these should not be taken lightly.

"Every criticism that comes from the opposition is not always destructive," she felt.

The clamping of curfews and requisitioning of additional central forces reflect the failure of the state police, Mukhim said, adding, "These are all knee-jerk reactions due to the inability to govern and failure of the police."

Retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and president of The Informed Conscious and Responsible Existence, Toki Blah is of the view that as a state, as people, and as a community, "we are totally confused; we have no vision for the future; we lack clarity and that is what is driving us into fear."

Blah observed that the basic element that is missing in the day-to-day lives of the people is "hope".

"The failure lies in all the institutions, especially, the political institution, where leaders and the system have failed us; no sooner political leadership will be led by business tycoons," he said.

What the state and the youth need right now is thoughtful leadership based on knowledge, experience, and rationality, which can guide a hopeful vision for society, the retired IAS officer said.

A renowned columnist from Jaintia Hills H.H. Mohrmen is of the view that the current situation in the capital city paints a very "unhealthy picture".

"People have lost their confidence and the youth, their respect for the system. The frustration level of the youth was like a ticking time bomb and the Cherish S. Thangkhiew incident triggered that bomb," he said.

Regarding HNLC activities in the state, Mohrmen observed that bringing the banned outfit to the negotiating table has been long overdue.

"Let's not argue over manpower and believe every narrative of the HNLC being a spent force. Because as long as they are there, we need to think of a solution to bring them to the mainstream — this goes both ways. The HNLC should realise that violence is not the solution," he said.

The prominent personalities of the state felt that the way forward for the government is to try and win back public confidence.

"I appreciate the decision of the government to set up a peace committee to resolve the differences and discourage lawlessness, but this committee should include people from cross-sections of the society," Mukhim said.

"No one is above the law — be it the police or the militants. We need to learn our lesson and ensure that people's faith in the police is restored. Ultimately, what we all want is peace," Mohrmen stated.

He also felt that the government needs to engage with the youth more often and give them a reason to respect it. "What we need at present is the progressive people to come forward; not with any hidden agenda, but to contribute without any vested interest," Blah said.

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