It appears the demand for resignation of home minister HDR Lyngdoh over rape of a minor in his son’s guest house is futile. Resignation or removal of a minister from the post, which he gets after lot of ‘hard work’, is a rare case. A minister does not leave his chair until and unless it becomes legally bound for him. In this case, HDR is far away from legal implications. The guest house is ‘not owned by him’ but his son, a fresh graduate! Although an employee was arrested for trafficking the 14-year-old girl into the guest house, police are far from doubting the guest house management in the case. Let alone HDR or his son, police have not yet interrogated the Marlvene Inn manager, who was given a ‘clean chit’ by HDR. Now, if the home minister gives clean chit to a person, there is little scope left for the police to even think of interrogating him! Alleged malfunctioning of the CCTV is another insulation for HDR and his family in the case.
However, the demand raised by Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO) led by Agnes Kharshiing and Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) led by Angela Rangad has sufficient ground. Being the home minister, he can influence the investigation as it was his son’s guest house where the girl was victimised last time. He said he has given free hand to police, and yet gave a clean chit to the guest house. Had the home minister’s name not been involved in the case, police would not have bought the story of ‘innocence’ now spelt out by the management. How can only one employee of the guest house be involved in such serious trafficking case without any green signal from the management? The ‘story’ given by HDR that the employee, a trusted one, sneaked in the girl into the guest house in absence of the manager at the counter at the reception for a while. Will the police buy such a story from any other person?
Yet, HDR may not be the coolest person at the moment. He runs the risk of political consideration by chief minister Mukul Sangma in view of the upcoming assembly election. The angry voice of public at a rally right beside the secretariat must have reached Mukul’s ears. If he decides to play a political masterstroke to appease the public for the sake of returning to power, HDR might be shown the door, even if the guest house story he has been playing is absolutely true.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on January 13, 2017)