Lowsohtun incident: FIR filed against Patricia Mukhim

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A recent social media post by Padmashree recipient and the Editor of Shillong Times Patricia Mukhim has prompted the Dorbar Shnong of Lowsohtun area in Meghalaya to file a First Information Report (FIR) against her on Monday, alleging the content of her post could give a ‘communal flare’ and trigger a communal conflict between the tribal and non-tribal communities across the state.

Mukhim, in her Facebook post, wrote about a recent incident were six boys belonging to a particular community were assaulted in broad daylight by a group of local boys in a basketball court, and mentioned, “…the attackers were tribal boys and should be immediately booked. This continued attack on non-tribal in Meghalaya chase ancestors have lived here for decades, some having come here since the British period is reprehensible to say the least. The fact that such attackers and trouble mongers since 1979 have never been arrested and if arrested never penalised according to law suggests that Meghalaya has been a failed state for a long time now”.

Finding this statement to be problematic, the Dorbar Shnong stated, “Her statement incited communal tension and could instigate a communal conflict which may spread to the entire State thereby, because of her post mentioning the 1979 conflict some media houses in West Bengal had publicised the issue by giving a communal colour thereby putting all Khasis outside the State in extreme danger”.

Mukhim also slammed the Dorbar Shnong of Lowsohtun, by further stating, “…and what about the Dorbar Shnong of the area? Don’t they have their eyes and ears to the ground? Don’t they know the criminal elements in their jurisdiction? Should they not lead the charge and identify those murderous elements? This is the time to rise above community interests, caste and creed and call out for justice.”

Condemning these words, Dorbar Shnong of Lowsohtun asserted her words has, “defamed not only the Dorbar Shnong of Lawsohtun but also the entire village without any basis and without knowing anything about the matter and has put the entire village in a very bad light before the entire world,”adding, “This is nothing short than an act of defamation based on lies and ignorance”.

Mukhim even mentioned, “Why should our non-tribal brethren continue to live in perpetual fear in their own state? Those born and brought up here have as much right to call Meghalaya their state as the indigenous tribal does” and appealed to the Meghalaya police, “We hope that this will not be yet another case lost in the police files. We want action. Criminal elements have no community. They must be dealt with as per the law of the land”.

Referring to the statement made by the Meghalaya Police on the July 4 this year, “stern warning to any individual who incites or breach communal peace and harmony, as stringent action as pen relevant provisions of law will be taken against them”, the Dorbar Shnong of Lowsohtun requested an FIR to be registered for offence under section 153 A. 505 and 499 of Indian Penal Code.

After submitting the FIR to the district Superintendent of Police Slyvester Nongtnger, secretary of the Shnong Bankhrawkupar Sohtun said, “It is an unfortunate incident and the comments made by Patricia Mukhim are giving a communal flare to such a petty incident”. He also added the Dorbar condemns such a statement which leads to the communal blaze. Meanwhile, SP Nongtnger appealed all the citizens of the state not to communalize the incident and the police are strongly monitoring those who are spreading these sought of messages.

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