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Section 66 A of IT Act

Editor,

In light of the quashing of Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the issue of Pine Mount School, Shillong is indeed worthy of serious deliberations. In fact, the discussions must be taken at the widest scope covering all such related organizations as this issue may not be an isolated one. There may be a few others and apparently many more will surface in future. In this regard I place the following pointers –

Firstly, let us be candid. The issue of students posting videos and audios of teachers over the IT platform is nothing new. As such, there are a plethora of text/images/videos of teachers over the social networking and messaging mediums. The point to be noted here is that not all are offensive and demeaning. For that matter, one may browse over YouTube and not be surprised to find a video of oneself taking class. Students hold gadgets on their hands and may record at will and post at will, of course all with the good intention of spreading and sharing knowledge. Hence, should we stifle and moral police over it? Be that as it may, the truth is we are in the age of IT and free speech and we must accept and live with it and through it. Positively and arguably, only good can come of this, as being under the radar contributes to better performance and effectiveness.

Secondly and in relation to the above, the aspect of offensive and abusive posts is a conundrum. The crux of the matter is that offence and abuse are relative terms. What is offensive and abusive to one may not be so to the other. So, where do we draw the line? It is in situations like these that we normally talk about the friction between law and customs/traditions/social harmony. The quashing of Section 66 A has ensured free speech and opinions, but at what cost. Do we use this freedom to disrupt social harmony? On the contrary, the main element of social harmony is being tolerant and respectful. As such, is it not fair for such posts to be allowed and taken in a light-hearted spirit? Accordingly, is it too much to ask of students to refrain from such acts? These are inquiries that can be discussed at length and with no convergence of views. In the end, how such abusive posts are taken, be it in spirit of free speech or dire insult is absolutely subjective and depends and differs from person to person.

Thirdly, I do not mean to infringe upon or interfere with the administration of Pine Mount School. However, I do agree with Adrian Diengdoh that the school may have acted rashly and in haste. The strict application of carrot and stick approach to nefarious activities of students may be counterproductive at large. This is where the role of School/College/University counselors comes to the fore and it is a critical role at that. The concerned student should have been given a talking to, with a warning and given a chance to repent. Everyone deserves another chance and in the process atone for one’s mistakes. After all, that is what education does; it moulds the young to become enlightened and responsible citizens.

Lastly, a person is innocent until proven guilty. As such, no one can claim relief from a particular section of law until and unless it is pressed for in the courts for redressal (unless of course if the court takes suo moto cognizance on the matter). As such, the only way forward for the concerned and affected party is to approach the courts and seek relief from the expulsion in the light of a non-existent section.

Yours etc,

Benjamin Lyngdoh

NEHU Campus

Shillong – 22

Wrong sentiments awakened

Editor,

The Khasi Awakening Day falls on April 4, as announced by KSU President Daniel Khyriem. This news has triggered much unhappiness and trepidation among non-Khasi communities in the State who will forever remember this day as a Day of Racial Violence due to the events of April 2013. I personally remember it as a Day of Shame for the Khasi community. This was the very same day, two years ago, when we revealed to the world how a modern society can be led by the nose by a bunch of immature, college dropouts into committing the most horrible of crimes against our fellow men. This is not something any member of the Khasi community take pride in, regardless of what these college dropouts tell us. Forty years have passed and these NGOs are still pushing people towards violence and hatred of other communities as a panacea for the ills of society. How dare we call ourselves civilized when we unquestioningly obey their dictates and continue to celebrate their calls for more violence! What is the Govt doing, besides bending over backwards for criminals every time? Why is this being allowed to take place?
Yours etc.,

Richard Kharmukhi
Shillong -3

Another day of terror?

Editor,
Another Khasi National Awakening Day has been announced by the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) on April 4. The KSU’s pogrom against non-tribals during the last ‘terror day’ is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Laitumkhrah witnessed attacks on shops and non-tribal people including tourists. All this happened at the behest of the KSU mob. The East Khasi Hills Administration, then failed miserably to contain the attack and allowed the terror procession to continue through the heart of the city. Cops made themselves scarce and, in one particular incident in Laitumkhrah involving tourists, policemen turned their backs on people who were being thrashed with iron rods before their eyes. The two tourists from Kolkata were beaten to within an inch of their lives and had to be hospitalized. This is what the KSU intends to wake us up for again – mindless violence. The man who ordered this mayhem and countless others, the infamous Daniel Khyriem, has never seen the inside of a lockup for the many racist crimes for which he stands indicted. Khyriem and every ex-KSU President and General Secretary since KSU’s inception, have blood on their hands. But in forty years, no Congress Govt including the present Govt has mustered the courage to take on the KSU. Neither has the local media, which winks at racial violence. Nor has the Church, which pretends to be apolticial so it can excuse itself from its duty. Meanwhile non-tribals will once again be put at the mercy of the fascist KSU on April 4 and beyond. All incidents of violence will be brushed under the carpet or labeled as “stray incidents”. The Govt. will probably talk tough, as is its custom. But as we have seen, all that talk is just so much gas!

Yours etc.,

Kundal Brahma

Shillong -4

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