Meghalaya Home Minister draws flak for ‘watchdog’ comment

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Shillong, March 8 (IANS) Meghalaya opposition National People’s Party legislator James Sangma on Wednesday slammed comments by Home Minister Donkupar Roy on the increasing crime against women and children in the state.

On Tuesday, while replying to a special motion on the increasing atrocities against women and children in the assembly, Roy had said that being the Home Minister of the state did not mean that he was a “watchdog”, and went on to add that crime could happen anywhere, anytime and no one could prevent it.

“I am disappointed (to hear the remarks). I always thought that when one becomes the Home Minister, you take over the responsibility of safety and security of the citizens of the state,” Sangma said.

Sangma, participating in a discussion on the amendment to the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address in the assembly, said, “It was a sad day for Meghalaya when the Home Minister says that he is not responsible.”

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“It is going to be remembered in the future that the government shrugged off its responsibilities. It is time to own up to the responsibility and to act against crime against women and children. We have become very cold and everything is becoming a mere statistic,” the NPP legislator said.

Expressing concern over the delay of the government in releasing rehabilitation packages for the militants of various disbanded insurgent groups in Garo Hills, Sangma said, “These people (militants) will not be satisfied by mere lip service and there will come a point when they may go back to what they did before packing up arms.”

Participating in the discussion, opposition Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit lashed out at the ruling Congress-led government for its failure to fix unemployment in the state.

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“I am surprised that there was no mention about the unemployment problem in the Governor’s address, which has become serious in our State,” he said.

Basiawmoit also criticised the government for its failure to construct a permanent assembly building after its original home — a 125-year-old Burmese teak building — was reduced to ashes on January 10, 2001.

“It is very unfortunate that even after 16 years the state is yet to have its own assembly building and occupies a temporary building. We cannot compare with the recently bifurcated State of Andhra Pradesh, which has inaugurated its own assembly building in a span of just two years of its existence as a state,” the HSPDP legislator said.



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