Oct 28 violence in Shillong damaging for Meghalaya’s economy: Tourism body

The Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum (MTDF) said on Monday that the October 28 rally which turned violent in Shillong created an atmosphere that might potentially damage the states economy and hamper job creation and growth.

Surprisingly, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, who is otherwise quite active on social media, has so far chosen to remain silent over the rally organised by the Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) demanding to resolve the rising unemployment in Meghalaya.

According to eyewitnesses, a section of FKJGP members, many of them masked, punched, kicked and pushed passersby indiscriminately, injuring a large number of people, mostly non-tribals, causing panic and huge traffic jams in the area.

The MTDF said the October 28 violence also painted Meghalaya and Meghalayans, particularly the indigenous population, in very poor light.

MTDF Chairman Larsing Sawyan said the violence perpetrated on October 28 was not only recorded, but shared across the state, region and the country, sending a bad message.

Demanding the FKJGP president to tender an apology for the incident, Sawyan said, “The abuse and violence afflicted on innocent citizens was a criminal act which damaged the goodwill of the Khasi and Jaintia people.

It was also an act that severely compromised the economic potential of the state, particularly in the tourism sector, Sawyan said.

The MTDF urged the state government to take immediate action and apprehend the perpetrators of violence.

“Confidence in law and order machinery needs to be restored and the public must to be given reassurance that such blatant acts of public defiance against the order of law and civility will not go unpunished,” the MTDF said in a statement, urging FKJGP to help identify the members who committed the acts of violence against innocent people.

“Meghalaya today stands at the threshold of huge economic growth that can be achieved primarily through tourism. Post-pandemic, people have developed an aversion towards overseas travel besides it is highly cumbersome nowadays to obtain visas for European countries.

“This presents a huge opportunity to Meghalaya tourism in the coming years. It’s is therefore important to acknowledge the importance of tourism as a game-changer for livelihood creation for the local people, particularly in the rural areas,” the statement read.

The Meghalaya police are yet to disclose the actions they have taken against the perpetrators of violence.

After the October 28 violence, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong had said that police have been asked to take necessary action at the earliest.

FKJGP president Dundee Khongsit, while apologising for the incident, had said he did not expect that such an untoward development would take place.

“We had told our members before the rally that it was a peaceful event. Our demand is to fill up the vacant posts in the government departments as there are over 7,000 posts lying vacant,” the tribal leader had told the media.




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