The Meghalaya government is reasonable sometimes when it criticises civil society groups being “unreasonable” in their demands. The present demand for inner line permit (ILP) is more swayed by emotions than reasons. Although public emotions led to the most rightful happenings in history and not reasons always, here is not enough space here to debate the issue. The government’s reasons go underground when it comes to taking action on the education scam, a deep scar on the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance – I government. There is a high-level official JD Sangma, the then director of elementary and mass education, who minced no words in his testimony to the CBI, passing the buck to the then education minister Ampareen Lyngdoh. It is another issue that as to why a highly educated person like him sinned even if he had the “blessings” of the minister. He must have eyed some “benefits” as well. But what is still shocking is the non-trial of the minister so far. If the government can take cognizance of even a media report, what prevented it from taking up a suo motto case on the basis of the CBI report? Reasons were buried when it decided to conduct a family (read high level scrutiny committee) trial leading to an obvious clean chit to the minister. And had social activist Agnes Kharshiing not lodged an FIR, there could have been no inquiry at all.
There is also no reason as to why 255 of the 350 appointed assistant teachers were recommended by politicians, some of whom even wanted 37 of their “own” candidates to be on the job. Ironically, a few of the politicians are not even educationally qualified to judge the capability of a teacher. According to his election affidavit, Sniawbhalang Dhar, who declared 30 candidates as “deserving”, is just a Class XII qualified. Now, no ‘aam aadmi’ can believe that Ampareen Lyngdoh was unaware about the whole recommendation drive. The fact remains that none of these public representatives has had to face the court of law so far even as the scam put a blot in the state’s history. The government might have thought – to err is the politician. If innocent, Ampareen has all the access to the law to file a damage suit against the official for “defaming” her. It’s a big question whether the public would get any justice by seeing punishment for small fries such as JD Sangma and two other officials besides the “tainted” candidates. It would not be astonishing to hear one day that Sangma did a volte face putting the entire blame on himself.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on Dec 12, 2013)