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Meghalaya mulling action against doctor for refusing to treat rape victim

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Shillong, July 21. Taking a “serious note” of the matter, the Social Welfare Department of Meghalaya is contemplating action against a doctor who had refused to treat a minor gang-rape victim on the ground that the place of the incident was beyond his jurisdiction, officials said here on Wednesday.

The police had taken the victim to the Williamnagar Civil Hospital in East Garo Hills district as it was 22 km from Nangalbibra, where she was raped. But the doctor in the hospital, citing jurisdictional complications, referred her to the Baghmara Civil Hospital, which is 75 km away.

The police have arrested four accused persons for raping the girl when she had gone out on Sunday evening to buy candles in the Nangalbibra area of South Garo Hills district in southeastern Meghalaya.

Strongly condemning the incident, Social Welfare Minister Kyrmen Shylla said that he has asked the concerned officials to collect detailed information about the incident.

“Jurisdiction has never been an issue when it comes to medical treatment. We would take up the doctor’s issue with the Health Department. The culprits have been arrested and they deserve the strictest punishment which can act as a deterrent,” he said.

Various organisations in Meghalaya, including the Garo Students’ Union and the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People, have also condemned the gang-rape of the 14-year-old girl as well as the insensitivity of the doctor at the Williamnagar Civil Hospital.

The organisations have demanded action against the doctor for turning the rape victim away.

The Meghalaya Assembly Committee on Women Empowerment (ACWE) would hold a meeting on the issue at the earliest, and has asked all the concerned officials to remain present in the meeting virtually.

Congress MLA and ACWE chairperson Ampareen Lyngdoh said the panel would seriously inquire why the victim was refused medical care in the Williamnagar Civil Hospital.

“It is very depressing that such serious crimes are occurring frequently in the state even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

East Garo Hills District Deputy Commissioner Swapnil Tembe said that the Medical Superintendent of Williamnagar Civil Hospital has been directed to submit a report of the incident.

Meghalaya

Rebecca Suchiang appointed first native woman Chief Secretary of Meghalaya

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Guwahati: Rebecca Vanessa Suchiang, a 1989 batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, has been appointed as the new Chief Secretary of Meghalaya.

She has become the first Khasi woman to achieve the prestigious position of the state to its bureaucracy.

In the late 1980s, PP Trivedi became the first female chief secretary of Meghalaya. Throughout her career, Suchiang has previously served in cabinet affairs, home (police), political, finance, personnel and AR among others.

Suchiang, who is at present Additional Secretary in the Union Finance Ministry, will take over as the State’s Chief Secretary on September 30, 2021. Suchiang will also serve as State Vigilance Commissioner once she takes office charge as Chief Secretary.

According to an official notification issued on Wednesday, outgoing Chief Secretary MS Rao has been appointed as the Chief Commissioner of the State Public Service Delivery Commission under the Meghalaya Right to Public Service Act, 2020.

Rao, a 1987 batch officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, was appointed to the post in December 2019.

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Meghalaya

5 dead, 16 injured as Meghalaya bus plunges into swollen river

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Shillong, Sep 30: At least five people died and 16 others were injured when a Meghalaya state transport corporation passenger bus plunged into the Ringdi River in the wee hours of Thursday, police said.

A senior police official here said that the night super bus fell into the Ringdi River at Nongchram in East Garo Hills District when it was traveling from Tura to state capital Shillong.

“Five people have died on the spot. The injured 16 people were initially shifted to Rongjeng primary health center for medical assistance but some critically injured people subsequently shifted to Williamnagar hospital. Rescue operations are on. The river had swollen due to the incessant rain with strong current,” the official said.

According to the police, the passengers were asleep in the bus when the accident took place.

The Fire and Emergency Services personnel were rushed to the accident site for helping the victims. Local people told the police that the bus hit the bridge posts before plunging into the swollen River.

The drivers of the Meghalaya Transport Corporation buses have a long history of reckless driving and this is suspected to be the main cause of the mishap.

Expressing his condolences for the victims of the mishap, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma tweetd: “Pained by the unfortunate MTC bus accident at Nongchram Bridge that claimed precious lives. My deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and I wish speedy recovery to those injured.”

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Assam-Meghalaya CM hold meeting to resolve border disputes 

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Both the state governments have decided to adopt a pragmatic approach and move from status quo to solution.

Shillong, July 24. The first Chief Minister-level meeting to resolve inter-state border troubles between Assam and Meghalaya was held here on Friday with both sides deciding to remove the disputes in the 12 bordering locations in a phased manner.

After the maiden meeting with his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K. Sangma, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the next CM-level meeting would be held in Guwahati on August 6, and if necessary, both of them would visit all the 12 disputed sites.

“We have agreed to go beyond the status quo in resolving the border disputes between the two states. Claims and counter claims would be discussed thoroughly and a solution towards the vexed problem would be reached as soon as possible in a phased manner,” Sarma told mediapersons.

An Assam government statement said that after detailed discussions between the Chief Ministers along with the concerned officials, both the state governments have decided to adopt a pragmatic approach and move from status quo to solution.

“It was a very fruitful discussion. We came to a common understanding and we are firm and committed to resolve the border disputes,” the Assam Chief Minister said, adding that in view of the contradictory claims, there would be more discussions and reviews so that a lasting solution can be reached.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Sangma, while thanking his Assam counterpart for his visit, said that as since it is a long-pending issue, it would take some more time as well as consultations to reach an amicable and accepted solution that is agreeable to both the states.

Terming Friday’s meeting as ‘historic’, Sangma said that the inter-state border issues would be taken up on priority, as both the states are committed to resolve the long-pending issues.

The Meghalaya Chief Minister said that delay in resolving the issues has led to problems in the inter-state border areas, and there have many instances of violence as well.

He said that resolving the issue is not simple and it would require many consultations, adding that the local issues, history and factual data would be considered to move forward and find a practical and acceptable solution.

Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua, Director General of Police Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta, Meghalaya Chief Secretary M.S. Rao, Additional Chief Secretary R.V. Suchiang, Commissioner and Secretary R. Lyngdoh and Secretary (Home and Political) C.V.D. Diengdoh were present in the meeting.

Inter-state boundary disputes between Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh during the past several years have witnessed many violent activities and skirmishes among the security forces and the people living along the boundaries of these states.

Encroachment in the border areas, and various unlawful activities, including attacks and abductions, infrequently took place along the inter-state borders of the northeastern states, occasionally leading to major incidents.

Central para-military forces have been deployed in some of the inter-state borders to prevent further escalation of violence.

Assam shares borders with six other northeastern states — Nagaland (512.1 km), Arunachal Pradesh (804.1 km), Manipur (204.1 km), Mizoram (164.6 km), Tripura (46.3 km) and Meghalaya (884.9 km).

Of the inter-state border troubles in the northeastern region, the Assam-Mizoram border disputes witnessed many violent incidents since October last year.

The Assam-Mizoram border predicament was tamed last year following the intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, top Home Ministry officials and Chief Ministers of both the states, following which Central paramilitary troops were deployed along the borders to prevent further trouble after a series of clashes and blockades on National Highway 306.

But since June 29, the troubles along the borders of the two northeastern states have resumed after the two states accused each other of encroachment of either territories.

According to Assam police, since October last year, several inter-state border skirmishes have taken place along the 164.6 km Assam-Mizoram border in which one man was killed, over 50 were injured, besides causing large-scale damage to properties of government schools and homes of the bordering people

 

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