The two day dawn to dusk protest shutdown called by groups like the GSU and its allies across Garo Hills passed off peacefully on Friday evening with no untoward incidents being reported from any of the five affected districts.
Barring the burning of tyres on roads in a couple of places, including Tura, situation was normal but office attendance was impacted while traders kept their shutters down during the strike call given by the pressure groups which are protesting the election of the new Chief Executive Member of GHADC, Rakesh A Sangma, and questioning his tribal status.
Besides the offices of the deputy commissioners of the respective districts that had good turnout in attendance, many department offices in several district headquarters had poor turnout. Absence of public transport was found to be one of the reasons employees were unable to commute.
Similar scenes were witnessed in Tura also where there was no public transport to ferry employees to various offices with only a handful managing to use private vehicles to travel.
MBOSE impacted by shutdown
The Meghalaya Board of School Education headquarters in Tura was also impacted by the two day strike with staff failing to turn up for work. Only a handful of employees, including some officers, who reside within the MBOSE complex were able to head to office but the absence of other employees’ paralysed the working atmosphere.
The board is conducting a series of examinations including the practical examinations for Class 11 students, that commenced on the first day of the shutdown.
Students appearing in the ongoing online examinations for undergraduate courses, namely BA, B.Sc and B.Com under North Eastern Hill University also faced constraints when it came to submission of their hard copy of the answer script.
The under-graduate online examinations took off on Thursday, the first day of the protest shutdown.
“The soft copy of the answer script is conducted online but students are supposed to submit the hardcopy of the same to their college within three hours of the exam’s completion. Unfortunately, very few students came to submit their hard copy during the strike,” said Principal of Don Bosco College, Rev. Fr. Bivan Mukhim while speaking to The Meghalayan on Friday afternoon.
Lone School in Tura holds classes
Sherwood school of Tura was the only educational institution across the region to conduct classes during the protest shutdown. As many as 150 students from classes Kindergarten (KG) to Class IX arrived in school buses to attend classes on Friday.
“Though the numbers were much less than our normal attendance, yet, the fact that parents and their children took the onus to come forward and not miss crucial classes is a very encouraging sign for education. I hope others emulate this in the future. All we want is for children to be in school because we have lost two years of much needed education due to the pandemic and we just cannot afford to continue missing classes,” says Sherwood School Headmaster Tyrone D’Brass. The school has been holding coaching and special classes to prepare their latest batch of Class X for the upcoming SSLC examinations.