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OPINION | Lockdown: Three ‘Faces’ of Hypocrisy of IPC Sections – By Mayborn Lyngdoh R
OPINION | SHILLONG, April 30:
By Mayborn Lyngdoh R
A brief introductory forward –
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973 authorises the Executive Magistrate of any state or territory to issue an order to prohibit the assembly of four or more people in an area. According to the law, every member of such 'unlawful assembly' can be booked for engaging in rioting.
Section 188 in The Indian Penal Code states-
- Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.—Whoever, knowing that, by an order promulgated by a public servant lawfully empowered to promulgate such order, he is directed to abstain from a certain act, or to take certain order with certain property in his possession or under his management, disobeys such direction, shall, if such disobedience causes or tends to cause obstruction, annoyance or injury, or risk of obstruction, annoyance or injury, to any person lawfully employed, be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both; and if such disobedience causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
FACE I – Late Dr. J. Sailo Ryntathiang's controversy:
The first mortal victim of Covid-19 from Meghalaya was denied cremation amidst the indefinite curfew in a Government owned crematorium as protestors from Jhalupara thronged the streets and were "up in arms" to protest the incineration of the body.
FACE II – The VIP-Nexus culture:
It's no longer a hidden story, a daughter of a high ranking police official broke the lockdown protocol, illegally used a police vehicle, went on a rampage, was tested drunk in Civil hospital (according to media reports), was seen going bonkers, calling a police officer useless in his own police station, and went on an abusive rant, "Take off your uniform right here, I will wear it and I will do your duty". Whatever is being quoted, is actually just her warming-up her English expertise of Moto GP because the man was stammering and no female officer was present. Sly brat!
In the Ist and IInd FACE, either the honourable Chief Minister or the Deputy Chief Minister were seen "humming the same tune" that be paraphrased roughly as, "The law will do the needful".
In FACE I, the matter has been swept down the carpet, why? While in FACE II, the videos from the News-outlets are slowly but steadily going untraceable. In both the cases, there were no arrests. The policy of favouritism is once again being shamelessly displayed. To whom it may concern, we do not care who the accused was, we just do not like this dead one-sided therapy for elite brats. This is only encouraging more dangerous brats to be braver. I hope news-outlets keep track. It would be a shame if some officers are transferred for the same. We are thankful and grateful to these brave warriors for the services rendered. No rich brat has the right to humiliate a man on duty like that particularly the heroes who have made an enormous contribution to keep the spread of the disease in check, working extra hours, and putting their lives on the line to protect every single citizen of the state.
FACE III – Hungry people in NONGMENSONG were arrested for violating 144 CrPC and Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.
Three or four days ago, some residents of Dong Umkdait, Nongmensong, raised their placards to voice against the MLA of the Constituency in particular for not receiving the food grains that were distributed in the Shnong.
According to them, while others have received twice, they are yet to receive. A day hence, H. S. Shylla along with some HYC members reached out to the rescue of these, and then the very next day, they (protesters) were arrested for violation of the aforementioned Sections of the Indian Penal Code of Conduct while FACE I and FACE II were protected and turned a blind eye by the same law that are charging these poor hungry and helpless families for crying out loud for bread. The formers are being let off to be forgotten, it's so fresh; we cannot.
The divide and rule policies were always so very well-played. If we point it out, they'd call us communal, jealous, indignant and bigot. For how long will the "Have's" harass, mutilate and trample the "Have-not's"? For how long will law have one eye open for their favourite sons and daughters? It's not us, but your amputated judgement, that is pulling the strings of animosity between your own citizens. Your favouritism is boiling the cancer of identification.
In Nongmensong, people flock the streets every single day, and are not arrested for it. In less than five days or so two houses were looted in the same locality, and prior to that, bicycles went missing. All of these took place during the lockdown. But the arrest of these poor people is leaving a very bad taste of a political-insider nexus to trample anyone who dare speak against. I dare question you. While robbers and thieves are being let off and released at this time of a pandemic, why are you arresting the poor just to showcase your power or whose power?
Is it because they or he or whoever or whatever, or the 'it' for the matter, threatened or humiliated or embarrassed by the act of the poor and hungry people, or by H.S. Shylla himself?
Maybe someone somewhere is trying to pay too much of an allegiance to someone somewhere. Someone is trying to make a statement loud and clear. But who?
In a comic turn of events, maybe this is seen to have backfired someone somewhere. Deputy CM yesterday, made a statement that no arrests were made in Nongmensong as they were released. How can the act of release exist without the act of arrest existing first?
I do not directly blame the local MLA A.L. Hek for the placards or for them not receiving the allotted food grains. The food grains have arrived and distributed too. The people that should be put up for questioning are the ones distributing it. Maybe there was a lapse or a delay. The Deputy Rangbah Shnong has said that the Shnong was yet to distribute it in the area and there was no animosity impended towards anyone. That could've been an accepted statement. The arrests of those eleven people with placards is however a very dark story yet to be unfolded. Was the operation supposed to act as a warning for the future?
If I may, a proposal of an investigation is to be done on all the three FACEs, but particularly on the MLA scheme of 25 lakhs – on the amount spent with proper receipts, the number of sacks that were recorded, and proper lists of the people that received, how much did they receive – in all the other Shnong(s) and Dong(s) of all the different districts, particularly in the rural areas. The cost should be compared with that of the other constituencies to have a clearer picture of the amount that truly went into it. Reading news everyday of how opportunists are taking advantage in such kind of a pandemic situation is just unacceptable. This is not the time and space for a money minting business. And anyone found guilty should be first investigated thoroughly, then booked under Section 420, 421,422,423 and 424 of IPC for committing fraud.
I conclude, the nexus will have to be broken. They law will have to be fair. There should be a single FACE, lest the face is so mutilated, that no Huda foundation can blend to mend the ever-growing barrier attempted to divide and rule – The rich from the poor; the Khasi from the non-Khasi, and humans from humanity.
DISCLAIMER: This is a personal opinion. The opinion expressed in the article above belongs to the writer alone and TNT- The Northeast Today may not endorse the same views.