Let Us All Stand Together And Oppose Hate & Violence In Meghalaya & India

This statement (originally in Khasi) was endorsed by more than 130 Khasi citizens of Meghalaya. If you are from Meghalaya and want to endorse the statement, message or WhatsApp on +91-9863097754. 

We are living in a time of darkness in India as well as our state of Meghalaya, amidst violence and killings of hate.

We live under the shadow of the Citizenship Amendment Act., 2019, a law which has created an atmosphere of hate and is dividing the citizens in our society and various communities. And this has only gotten worse with the recent incidents of violence in Delhi, and closer to home, here in Meghalaya.

The violence which led to the deaths of Lurshai Hynniewta, Rupsang Dewan, and Ussaduddin, as well as various attacks and stabbings, at the hands of hatemongers and criminals shows a complete lack of remorse and lack of understanding over the value of life. The loss faced by their families is irreconcilable. Yes, the police has managed to arrest some of the perpetrators, but there are many more perpetrators who are on the loose and this threatens others and the overall peace and order in our state.

Meghalaya is faced with many difficulties, as well as opportunities and hope. The population of the indigenous people here is small in comparison with India at large, and they need protections, whether it is their land and resources, languages, their indigenous land systems and sacred forests, their traditional governance, like the Dorbar Shnongs and Himas, and several others. Whether these protections can be achieved only through violence and bloodshed? Through the propagation of hate? Whether we cannot think of other ways to protect ourselves? Yes, sometimes laws are passed that threaten us, and also the movement and entry of people from outside the state also makes it seems that our existence in the face of the earth is threatened; can violence and bloodshed be the only solution? The saying, “An eye for an eye” will not lead us anywhere, it will only blind us and our communities. And as enlightened citizens, we should not accept this and understand that even history teaches us that this philosophy of hate and violence will only beget more hate and violence. Therefore, those who murdered Lurshai Hynniewta, Rupsang Dewan, and Ussaduddin; those who assaulted people are nothing more than criminals and violent opportunists who should be caught immediately and punished as per the provisions of law.

What happened in Ichamati on the 28th of February 2020 and the subsequent assaults and stabbings, and hate mongering would only lead to a cycle of more hate and violence and would protect no one. All this would only create an atmosphere of hate and continue to create problems, not just now but to future generations.

We have our traditional institutions like the Dorbar Shnong from the bottom to the Raij, the Hima, to the District Councils, and to the Legislative Assembly. Let us strengthen these institutions and their democratic principles and expand ourselves and our thinking. We should mould and improve our governance structures that it benefits all sections of society, whether female or male, young or old and that governance, trade and commerce and others should be inclusive to all on the principle of equality before the law.

Differences will always exist amongst the citizens, in the country, or here in our state. And that should be our strength rather than seeing differences. We have different religious practices and different festivals celebrated across all cultures. We also have in our state different religious traditions, clan groups, and a multitude of different groups; this should be a matter of pride that this plurality exists. We should not let hate divide this plurality and create an atmosphere of fear in our state.

The problems which face us today, in the state and in the country, should be sorted out through democratic means and dialogue. And even if there are disagreements, the democratic right to protest and disagree should be protected along with the fundamental right of freedom of speech which entails the right to criticise as well. No matter our differences and disagreements, we should not let hate take over.

What happens next? Whether to continue with hate which leads to unnecessary violence and bloodshed? Whether we should let hatemongers and violent opportunists to take advantage of this atmosphere? We need to come together and unite, unite against fear, hate, violence and bloodshed. We should unite together for the future. We should fight hate with love, fight blades and iron rods with dialogue and arguments.

Therefore, we the citizens of Meghalaya and India come together and condemn the violence which has led to loss of innocent lives and that all those involved should be booked under the provisions of the law, and also appeal to all individuals and groups to stand united against hate and violence.

We demand that an independent inquiry be set up to inquire into the events leading to the violent incidents in Ichamati as well as the assaults and stabbings which took place subsequently in Shillong as well as in other places.

We demand that the Police should not be biased towards anyone and that all involved should be booked as per the law. Also, incidents of violence, including assaults, arson, and destruction to property, whether private or public, have been taking place periodically for the past few months and years, and the police should strengthen mechanisms to prevent such incidents from taking place.

We demand the creation of spaces for public forums and discussions, to debate about the law, to find ways to uplift our people and state, and to preserve our traditions. We encourage fearless naming of important issues that affect the State or the Indigenous people, and to debate publicly and in detail – founded on the fundamentals of truth – ways in which we can protect our own people.

We demand the indigenous and government institutions govern in a corruption-free manner, making sure that our neighbourhoods, towns and cities are safe for all. We demand the institutions execute the law in a just and fair manner without bias, and in accordance to the laws of the land.  We demand the creation of spaces for public forums and discussions in our neighbourhoods, in our places of learning, where the public and students can gather regularly to discuss, to debate and to listen to the perspective and opinions of others.

We encourage the public to not be afraid to stop or to intervene when there is violence and killings – even if it is a small altercation – in order to prevent it’s spread.

We encourage the planting of seeds of mutual respect and love across generations and with one’s own children; and that our love of our own traditions and people should not be greater than hatred of others different from us.

We need to understand the importance that our people will not thrive and grow in isolation. History has much to teach us about this. We have rubbed shoulders with others from different places. There was also a time when we worked alongside others while we stood up for our own. But now we must chose the path of peace and love. We need to struggle against the hardships of our state and dangers our people face with wisdom, with truth, and lawfully based on democratic foundations.  We should not be afraid to speak the truth, we should not be afraid to debate and defend our arguments by finding common ground in broad mindedness. We need to stand together to end the hatred and killing of each other, it only brings loss and death. Enough is enough.

Endorsed (in alphabetical order)

  1. Agnes Kharshiing
  2. Aiban Dkhar
  3. Aiban Mawkhroh
  4. Aidan Syiem
  5. Ainame Phanbuh
  6. Airpeace W Rani
  7. Alfrisha Lyngdoh Rani
  8. Amita Sangma
  9. Andrew Lyndem
  10. Angela Lyngdoh
  11. Angela Rangad
  12. Angelle Wallang
  13. Anita Kharmawphlang
  14. Arnicia Kharnaior
  15. Ashu Iangrai
  16. Avanti Mary Jyrwa
  17. Avner Pariat
  18. Balawansuk Lynrah
  19. Banshan Marwein
  20. Banshkem Wahlang
  21. Banteiborlang Khongmawloh
  22. Banteilut L Nongbri
  23. Batskhem Myrboh
  24. Benjamin Blah
  25. Beststar Mukhim
  26. Bijoya Sawian
  27. Biron Singh Nongbri
  28. Bishar Skhemlang Marwein
  29. Bitalinda Majaw
  30. Caldwell Manners
  31. Christopher J War
  32. Junisha Khongwir
  33. M.Pariat
  34. Dabormaian Kharmawphlang
  35. Damien Marwein
  36. Darilyn Syiem
  37. Donkupar Lyngdoh
  38. Bhogtoram Mawroh
  39. Khlur Mukhim
  40. Moses Kharbithai
  41. Valencia Myrboh
  42. P.B.M Basaiawmoit
  43. Elphius Umsong
  44. Evangalene Thabah
  45. Gertrude Lamare
  46. Gideon Gregory Kharmalki
  47. Grace C Kyndiah
  48. Gracefulness Rymmai
  49. H H Mohrmen
  50. H Hokid Syiem
  51. Harold B Thabah
  52. Iamon Syiem
  53. Ian Khongmen
  54. Iasaid Khongjee
  55. Ibundor Ehlert
  56. Indashai Warjri
  57. Jackie Warjri
  58. Janice Pariat
  59. Jenita Jyrwa Nongsiej
  60. Jerry Lucius Pyrtuh
  61. Jobeth Ann Warjri
  62. Joel Kyndiah
  63. Johanan Wahlang
  64. John Kharshiing
  65. Jonal Lyngdoh Nongumlong
  66. Jonis Kharthangmaw
  67. Joy Grace Syiem
  68. Juban Lamar
  69. K Mark Swer
  70. Karen Mihsill
  71. Karen Syiem
  72. Kenneth Swer
  73. Khrawbor Wartde
  74. Kitbok Nongkynrih
  75. Kitboklang Manar
  76. Kynjoh Shaphrang Masynting
  77. Kyrshan Thabah
  78. Kyrsoibor Pyrtuh
  79. Lakyntiew Sawian
  80. Lamjingshai O Garod
  81. Lamphrang Diengdoh
  82. Lamtei Wahlang
  83. Lapdiang A Syiem
  84. Lavenia Lyngdoh Nongum
  85. Leonardo Tongper
  86. Lindsay Diengdoh
  87. Longnam Wanbiang Kharpuri
  88. Macfairson Dkhar
  89. Mantre Passah
  90. Maranatha Wahlang
  91. Marbudlang Lyngdoh Lawai
  92. Marwanki Rymbai
  93. Mary Anne Pohshna
  94. Mary Therese Kurkalang
  95. Mayfereen Ryntathiang
  96. Melanie War
  97. Mercy Kharbasanti
  98. Moody AW Lyngkhoi
  99. Zambolis Sawkmei
  100. B. Diengdoh
  101. Neal Lyngwa
  102. Neeta Ranee Blah
  103. Nobas Nongrum
  104. Phyllis Rani
  105. Precious Lynshiang
  106. Pynshailang Nongrum
  107. Queency Pathaw
  108. RGLyngdoh
  109. Raplang C Marweiñ
  110. Rayner Dkhar
  111. Ridalin Nongbet
  112. Ritibon Shabong
  113. Romilan Rajee
  114. Roney Lyndem
  115. Rudi Warjri
  116. Rushwa Lamare
  117. Thabah
  118. Saihunlang Phanbuh
  119. Samanda Phanwar
  120. Samborlang Kharpuri
  121. Sanjosstar Marngar
  122. Saphronia Mawniuh
  123. Saralin Kharbudon
  124. Seiborlang Rynjah
  125. Sibani Malngiang
  126. Sonia Langstieh
  127. Sophilos Lywait
  128. Sumarbin Umdor
  129. Synjuk Mon Dkhar
  130. Syrpailin Khonglah
  131. Tannia Mawthoh
  132. Timothy Fedrick Mawkhlieng
  133. Venetia Mawlong
  134. Verbeena Kyndiah
  135. Wancy Passah
  136. Wanphaiti Rynjah
  137. Wansalan Dhar

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