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Meghalaya: Deteriorating law and order major issue in 2013

Tuesday, 24 December 2013 - 11:20am IST | Place: Meghalaya | Agency: PTI
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma led Congress to a comfortable win in the Assembly elections with the party winning 29 seats, UDP eight seats, NCP and NPP two each while others bagged 19.

Worsening law and order situation in Garo Hills region coupled with mushrooming of militant groups, the Rs 120 crore C M J University Ph.D scam and killings arising out of superstitious beliefs marked 2013 for Meghalaya.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma led Congress to a comfortable win in the Assembly elections with the party winning 29 seats, UDP eight seats, NCP and NPP two each while others bagged 19.

Sangma, who was sworn in for the second term in office after having almost single handedly routed the P A Sangma stronghold in the Garo Hills and the regional forces in the Khasi Jaintia Hills region, faced the worst anti-government protests over the demand for Inner Line Permit.

During the three-months-long crisis, three persons died after activists poured petrol bombs and set them on fire. Properties worth over Rs 40 crore were damaged during the period even as the situation worsened after Sangma adopted a defiant policy against the protesters.

Sangma was instrumental in Meghalaya getting Planning Commission's approval of the state's plan size of Rs 4151 crore, seeking an additional fund of another Rs 3000 crore over and above the plan size and securing a 100 million USD loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve education sector.

However, in an embarrassment for the Congress-led coalition regime, former Governor R S Mooshahary blew the lid off the racket of fake Ph.D degrees awarded by the C M J University.

The state also failed to check the ever-growing number of militant groups in Garo Hills region resulting in a law and order crisis. There was also a number of frenzied killings of people, forcing them to eat human and dog's excreta on account of a superstitious belief that drew the attention of the national media besides mine mishaps which claimed over 20 lives in the rat-hole coal pits.

There were unabated attacks by outlawed cadres of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA). At least 13 migrant labourers were shot dead in remote coal mines of South Garo Hills in the first quarter resulting in their worst-ever exodus from the state as they fled for safety to their home state in Assam.

Government servants serving in the militant-hit East Garo Hills and South Garo Hills districts were also served demand notes ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh by the militants.

The police department also faced one of its worst nightmares in tackling militancy and maintaining of law and order situation.

Nurul Islam, a police inspector who allegedly raped two minor sisters during May in Sangma's Ampati district, managed to give the force a slip after he was arrested while the government had to dismiss the service of another cop S N Roy who was found guilty of raping a minor in 2011.

The force also suffered one of its biggest casualties in its fight against militancy when five policemen were shot dead in an ambush in Baghmara, the district headquarters of South Garo Hills in November.

The state government failed to enforce ban on the sale of gutkha and other tobacco products and also on sand mining including mining of minor minerals which resulted in excessive depletion of forest covers, pollution of river systems and huge loss to the state's green covers.

In November, dead fishes were found floating in a decoloured Lukha river in East Jaintia Hills, the discolouration of which was caused by leakage of acid effluents from the abandoned rat-hole coal mines.

For her achievement, first woman Everester from the state, Wansuk Myrthong, was rewarded with a double promotion for becoming the first woman to be on top of the world and the second from this north eastern state to scale Mt Everest.

While Shillong Lajong FC managed to remain in I-League after a grueling fight, another promising professional football club from the state – Rangdajied United FC - made it through to the top 13 teams to play in the top and prestigious football league of the country.


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