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It has been well over a month since a five-year-old boy of Tura suffered a heavy electric shock causing permanent disability. Both his hands will have to be amputated. The boy Chidam Marak, son of a daily wage earner, now needs lakhs of rupees to go through the entire rehabilitation process. Besides, he is facing a dark future for himself. For the parents, it will be foolish to hope that their son will grow up one day and reduce their sufferings. He might, but such chances are very rare. Most of the disabled in our country land up running from pillar to post in government departments seeking financial aid and jobs on sympathetic grounds. Moreover, he will have to face humiliation and unwelcome sympathy from the society throughout his life. All these adversities are looming large over the boy and his family.

What was the five-year old’s fault? Not knowing that an electric transformer is a dangerous thing to be chosen as a place to relieve oneself? Are the parents guilty of not teaching him about the danger of an unfenced transformer? No accountability has been fixed on the matter so far. In fact, there is no move to file an FIR from the administration side. The family might be too naive to seek justice for their son. Poor people in this country take it for granted everything that goes wrong with them, even if it was not their fault at all. How many times have we heard of an official, contractor or minister concerned being punished for any road accident that occurs due to the fault of bridges, roads etc. People dying and being injured after falling into manholes is a regular phenomenon in Indian cities especially during rainy seasons. The particular manhole gets a cover immediately, and that’s all. There were instances of fatal mishaps when people come into contact with live wires snapped in storms. Do we hear about fixing of accountability for such mishaps?

It is a good gesture by the West Garo Hills district administration to offer an interim relief of Rs 50,000 for the crippled boy. Many individuals have also come forward to financially help the boy in his rehabilitation. Chief minister Mukul Sangma too asked the deputy commissioner to take steps to punish the guilty. But, would not it have been more appreciable if he had directly taken up the matter with the MeECL or the police higher-ups and ensure punishment for the guilty for crippling a boy for life?

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on January 24)