Shillong, Sept 15: Hynniewtrep Integrated Territorial Organisation (HITO) president Donbok Dkhar on Wednesday ruled out any political affiliation after the NGO members were denied entry into Assembly despite having valid passes.
To a question, Dkhar said HITO had sought the help of Congress MLA HM Shangpliang only to recommend their names to get passes and this should not be misinterpreted as political affiliation of the group with any MLA or party.
In a statement, HITO expressed shock over police preventing their entry into Assembly and alleged that it was orchestrated by none other than the Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh as the officials were only scapegoats. “Even the opposition refrained from flagging this blatant disregard of the law of the land”, HITO said.
“Our sole intention was to vent our feelings over the uncountable failures of the government right from law and order to Covid management, especially vaccination, to stark corruption in numerous departments to name just a few; in a silent, peaceful and most democratic way. We intended to listen patiently to the deliberations and see if the issues we have raised since our inception have penetrated any ear of the publicity crazy ruling dispensation or the benign opposition and then bid them farewell outside the House peacefully without letting out a whisper even”, Dkhar said.
According to HITO chief, to flimsily say that the police had intelligence inputs that the members of the organisation would be staging a protest or disrupt the proceedings ‘is simply unarguable and even the layman can see through this façade of lies and deception.
HITO said they believe in the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.
Clarification sought from DC
HITO has also written to East Khasi Hills DC Isawanda Laloo seeking clarification.
The letter said HITO had legally obtained twenty passes to attend the session but were stopped on the way at Harrison bridge by the magistrates accompanied by police.
“Despite producing the passes as law abiding citizens, we were firmly prevented from proceeding further by police who claimed that they were only following your orders”, HITO said.
“Madam, preliminary enquiry by HITO reveals that even you were acting upon instructions from the Assembly Commissioner Secretary who in turn said it was under the Speaker’s direction”.
However when asked, the Speaker told reporters that he does not know the reason why the members of HITO were stopped.
“ If this is true, then does that mean that the administration has no say in permitting peaceful and silent means of protest in a democracy; and that it can only subserviently bow to the powers that be? Does it indicate that even if your office sees no illegality in citizens venting out their thoughts over current trends of governance, it will have to simply pretend to ignore the truth?
However, when asked, the Speaker told reporters that he does not know the reason why the members of HITO was stopped.
The letter further said to pursue their desire of visiting the Assembly, it will apply for permission from the Speaker once again.
“Perhaps, this time your good self can convince the Speaker that our intentions, however grand or frightful they may appear to him; are purely democratic and peaceful in nature as prescribed by our sacred Constitution. He, being the chosen custodian of it should know and appreciate it better”, HITO said.