By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Braving heavy rain, thousands of people ranging from local residents, heads of institutions, religious leaders and leaders of social organizations, and school and college students on Thursday participated in a peace rally conducted by the Seng Samla Malki to condemn the brutal rape of a 7-year-old minor at Malki jungle recently.
Rallying through the whole of Malki locality, the participants through their banners and placards reflected the sad state of affairs in Meghalaya with respect to crime against women and children which is on the rise.
The participants displayed banners and placards that read: ‘Girls want security, women want respect’; ‘I can, you can, we can stop child exploitation’; ‘Rapists should be hanged to a tree till the tree dies’; ‘Real man don’t rape’; ‘Shillong: The next rape capital’ and ‘Oh! Government, implement the Fast Track Court more efficiently’.
The rally which started from Malki Nongshilliang and culminated at Malki Ground witnessed a huge gathering of more than 9000 people from all spheres of life including government servants, Malki Taxi Owners’ and Drivers’ Association, Bouncer Association of Meghalaya, Synjuk ki Seng Samla Shnong, local NGOs and Nongthymmai legislator Jemino Mawthoh.
Addressing the public gathering after the peace rally, Principal of the Malki Presbyterian School, P Nongneng, put full faith on the police investigation unit while hoping that it will continue its job until justice is served.
“Having four women legislators in the Cabinet, we hope that they will formulate a policy to thwart such incidents in the future and will ensure the safety and security of the women and children in the State,” he said.
Chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission for Women, Theilin Phanbuh, stressed on the need to have efficient and honest public prosecutors (PPs).
“In many instances, we see that if any matter goes to the court, such cases often weaken simply because the PPs are weak and not efficient,” Phanbuh said while urging the government to appoint qualified and honest PPs to ensure that cases do not lie pending in the court of law.
Expressing anger over the whole situation, executive member of the Malki dorbar Shnong, PK Sohtun, said, “These culprits don’t have any rights to reside in the locality like all of us; instead, they should be ostracized and sent to live with the animals in the wild.” He also asked the government and the police to deliver justice in an efficient and responsible manner, failing of which, the Dorbar will be forced to take the law into their own hands.
On the same note, member of the Catholic congregation, A Kharmalki, while condemning the brutal act, said that this incident against an innocent kid has brought about so much of insecurity amongst the parents who will now think twice before sending their kids to schools or tuitions.
“The fear psychosis looms large in the city now and if we cannot do anything about this issue now, we fear that it would cross overboard without sparing our teenage girls and even mothers,” he added.
Member of the Seng Longkmie Malki, J Nongkynrih, while referring to the culprits, said, “With the turn of events, it seems that instead of being protectors, some men are predators, feeding on innocent souls.”
The whole locality came to a standstill and all shops were shut down during the rally to pressurize the government to take the case seriously, apprehend the criminals and give exemplary punishment that would prove to be a deterrent to other like-minded criminals.