Shillong, July 26: The Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) has lodged a complaint against the Legal Rights Observatory (LRO) for trying to incite religious and communal tension between communities in the state.
The FIR follows uploading of a video by LRO on the July 24-incident where a shopkeeper and her son were assaulted and robbed by miscreants.
The LRO alleged in its tweets that the KSU activists were the ones attacking devotees, priests and women in Mahadevkhola temple and that the attack was instigated by the Presbyterian Church.
The FIR was filed by the KSU legal affairs secretary James H Mawphniang with the Superintendent of Police (City) Vivek Syiem.
The KSU urged the authorities to suspend/delete the @LegalLRO twitter accounts for indulging in hate mongering and spreading false information.
The KSU wanted the forest department to remove all illegal settlers from Mahadevkhola.
Addressing a press conference after submitting the FIR, KSU general secretary Donald V Thabah said the allegations made by the LRO on an incident, which the KSU has no idea as to how it happened, is unjustified and baseless.
The KSU leader said, “We would like to state that by blaming the Church and by blaming the Union that we are involved in that incident is very wrong as the KSU is not affiliated to any religious groups be it the Catholic, the Presbyterian or the traditional faiths – we are not related to any of them. The KSU stands for the welfare and the protection and safeguard of the entire Khasi people. So we do not indulge in any activities which might be detrimental to any particular religious groups.
Thabah said Meghalaya has been plagued by illegal immigrants since 1971 and till date because “we are bereft of any mechanisms or any laws which will protect tribal communities from the influx of outsiders, like ILP or certain protections like the Article 371 (a) or 371 (g) that are present in Nagaland and Mizoram. We do not have such acts as the Government of India does not provide that.”
“Due to this, the KSU and other organisations have to step in to protect the rights of the minority tribal indigenous community of Meghalaya. With that there are so many conflicts with these illegal immigrants, these outsiders.”
Thabah said with the recent scenario in India, the LRO is trying to bring a religious colour to this issue in which they want to pitch between Hindu and the tribal Christians.
“They want the support from all over India against the tribals not only Meghalaya but the entire North East region. This is very wrong because the community and KSU have been engaging in the fight against illegal immigration in the state and there has never been an instance where a religious place is being attacked or the name of a particular religion is being taken. Usually we want that we should be protected within our rights so that we will not be overwhelmed and the demographic structure of the state will not change,” he said.
Stating that this is not the first instance where the LRO is targeting the KSU, Thabah said, “Since 2019, the LRO has been complaining that the hospitals were keeping Bibles in their rooms and during the anti-CAA movement of the NESO-KSU that the KSU are being mobilised by certain Christian groups and people from Scotland to agitate on the issue of CAA and many other tweets and posts in various social media platforms.”
The KSU leader accused the LRO for trying to connect the July 24-incident with the recent demand of the Union to remove illegal settlers from Mahadevkhola.
“Because of that complaint, maybe the LRO is trying to connect these two issues which are not related to one another,” he said.
Thabah said that a complaint with the forest department was lodged by the KSU Laban Circle recently after seeing that the problems of illegal settlers besides drug peddling and addicts at the area may create law and order situation in the future. The union had demanded that all illegal structures should be demolished immediately.
“We have seen the forest department demolishing shops owned by the Khasis along the entire stretch of the National Highways in forest land so we were thinking that the forest department will do the needful regarding these people who are outsiders, who are illegal immigrants,” he said.
The KSU leader said till date after the filing of the complaint, no action has been taken yet by the forest department which is very baffling to note.