Govt. to talk to different groups over Ichamati issue

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With the hope to normalize the situation by communicating, the state government has decided to talk to the different groups for resolving the ‘confusion’ and ‘misunderstanding’ over the Ichamati issue.

“We are in the process of communicating and talking to everybody, in fact along with the government of India,” Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma told reporters on Wednesday.

Sangma said the government is communicating to the concerned organizations from the state and outside the state to ensure the situation does not aggravate.

“By communicating and talking to different organizations, we will be able to normalize the situation,” he said.

This came after the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) staged a protest against the proposed visit of the All Bengali Youth & Students Organization (ABYSO) citing that it is an attempt to interfere with the affairs of the state and to disturb the peace.

The protests by the members of the KSU North Khasi Hills District and KSU South Khasi Hills District on Wednesday have held a toll Plaza, Pahammawlein in Ri Bhoi, and Sohra in East Khasi Hills.

The ABYSO led by Chandan Chatterjee had sought permission and security to visit Ichamati in East Khasi Hills district to take the stock of the alleged “institutionalized harassment” of non-tribal women and children, which was however denied by the state government.

Asked, the chief minister said, of course, the Ichamati the issue was a major issue a few months back but there is no such complication right now. He said whatever the confusion that has arisen due to the comments made by different groups including from the state and outside, that can be resolved

. “Therefore, we are on the job and we are trying to ensure all these unnecessary comments that are coming out from different groups can be resolved at the earliest,” the chief minister added.

The Under Secretary, Home (Political) Department, P.Jyrwa in her letter to the ABYSO president Chandan Chatterjee on Tuesday had stated that the government does not recommend visits to Ichamati by the organization or other NGOs.

She also informed that the state government has conducted an inquiry in this matter, the report of which has been submitted to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

The inquiry was ordered by Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills district comprising the members of the District Child Protection Committee. “The report found that there are no cases of harassment faced by the residents of Ichamati and particularly women and children,” the Under Secretary said.

The government official however said the report did find that there were instances of economic hardship faced by the residents of the area caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The state government is fully aware of the situation and has already initiated the necessary steps to alleviate the hardship faced by the residents of Ichamati,” Jyrwa said. She further informed that the issue of non-renewal of the trading licenses of the residents has been taken up with the KHADC by the Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills District.