Shillong, June 30: A peace meeting has been convened at Tura tomorrow by the West Garo Hills district administration to devise ways and means to ensure peace and harmony after hard lessons were learnt from last week’s incidents.
The peace-cum-consultative meeting will witness attendance of senior citizens, legislators, NGOs, youth organisations and members of the United Christian Peace Forum to discuss the recent spate of violence which had its origin in Tura.
The meeting comes at a time when tension in the Garo hills region has reportedly de-escalated and the district was limping back to normality after thousands of migrant labourers fled to Assam fearing attacks.
The peace meeting aims to create confidence-building measures and strategies to prevent recurrence of such incidents in the future, West Garo Hills deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi, said.
“It is envisaged that through discussions and deliberations a strategy with clear timelines shall be formulated on how to deal with the problems of unrest, check drunken behaviour and restlessness among the youths and employ them (youths) more productively,” Bakshi said.
The setting up of an inter-faith forum with participation of religious leaders of all faiths shall be the highlight of the meeting and the forum shall be duly notified by the district administration.
The forum, Bakshi said, would meet from time to time to instil faith and confidence in different communities co-existing in the localities of the town and in other areas of the district.
“It will be a forum which shall immediately convene meetings whenever there is even a whiff of communal tension or a communal conflagration and shall take all possible measures to defuse the crisis and restore normality,” he said.
The meeting will work out on the measures to be taken to enlist migrant labourers working in coal mines or construction sites and enumerate them accurately and effectively.
The idea shall be to ensure their identities and initiate measures for their safety and welfare while ensuring that they receive minimum wages, Bakshi said.
There is already a district-level task force for migrant labourers. This, however, requires to be strengthened.
Moreover, the need to control “deviant behaviour” among the youths shall also be the high point of the consultations as it was reported that many of the youths involved in the mob violence that resulted after the molestation of a mentally challenged girl, were in an inebriated state, Bakshi said.
The meeting would discuss strategies for skill development and capacity building for the youths who are increasingly turning to alcohol and substance abuse, to deflect their frustrations, he added.
It shall be discussed what role senior citizens and elders of the Church and other religious bodies shall play to counter drunkenness and rowdy behaviour of the youths in late evening hours.
Measures to curb bootleggers and small-time criminals who peddle drugs and proscribed medicines shall also be discussed.
The meeting would discuss specific measures to ensure effective and intensive patrolling, social and parental control to curb unrest and deviant behaviour and measures to punish regular defaulters and offenders, Bakshi said.