In the midst of Rongali Bihu celebrations throughout the State, a dastardly killing in Guwahati has once again raised disturbing questions about which way our society is moving. The incident occurred at Chandmari flyover, just near to the East Guwahati Bihu venue. The place was crowded with revellers enjoying Bihu programmes on stage at the brightly lit Engineering Institute playground. Security personnel were moving amongst the crowd, while cars went whizzing by along the flyover road. Several girls were walking along the flyover to get a better view of the Bihu stage when they were waylaid by a group of rowdy youths. The eve teasing soon turned ugly as a girl and her brother protested. The youths attacked the girl and her brother with knives, injuring them. Suddenly a teeger Vikash Mahanta, who had appeared for his HSLC examition this year, appeared on the scene. He was coming out after dinner to watch the Bihu programme when he saw the fracas and intervened to save the girl and her brother. The gang of ruffians at once turned upon him. Surrounding him on the busy open road, they stabbed him again and again. The injured girl raised a hue and cry, calling for the police and dialing 108 emergency ambulance service. Young Mahanta was taken to hospital but it was already too late. Doctors pronounced him dead on arrival. A conscientious young man was thus cut down before his prime, before he had even begun to live. But he did what every right thinking individual ought to do, which is to speak up and act against injustice or misdeed whenever and wherever it takes place. But the many others present on the flyover road chock-full with Bihu revellers, did not do the rightful thing to try and protect Vikash. This is how public celebrations of festivals are degenerating into drunkenness, rowdiness and sexual harassment due to misguided, crimil-minded people. They take full advantage of our lawless times, where most people look the other way whenever they see someone being victimized. As for the law enforcers, they mostly arrive on the scene too late, which raises the suspicion that they may have other, more ‘profitable’ things to do than protect the weak and the defenceless.
food for thought