While most people around the world are familiar with the practice of terrorists and underground personnel indulging in extortionist activities and the general harassing of people, perhaps only those of living in Arunachal Pradesh are aware that the practice is not a prerogative of only the ultras. In our state, from the local goon to college students and right up to presidents and general secretaries of various welfare organisations see nothing wrong in conducting what can best be called “donation drives”. Organisational heads often seek donations from business establishments and financially stable persons to fund their activities, much of which is never visible. Students, in the name of various students’ bodies and youth organisations even reserve a post for their treasurer to oversee the financial expenditure of their group. Why a students’ body requires a treasurer is beyond the understanding of most people. While most people question these activities, there are few who can sometimes be heard opining that it is ‘OK’ to extort money from the non-Arunachalees who have been running their business establishments in the state for decades now since they have made so much money from ‘us’.
There exists today in our state a collective feeling that extortion by any organisation or group is immoral, wrong and therefore must be abhorred, and yet surprisingly some hang on to the belief that squeezing money out of those who have milked the land for so long is somehow justified. It is this societal double standard that needs to be erased. Society needs to hold a mirror to itself and acknowledge the fact that regardless of who commits a crime against any kind of victim, the punishment and condemnation must be the same for all. The yardstick with which all and any activity is measured must be equal. Just like how a rape under any circumstances is wrong, the act of robbing someone of their hard earned money too is not right. Only when there is individual condemnation of the act will people find the strength to collectively stand up against these social terrorists.