Ep 115: How is Northeast India handling the Covid-19 pandemic?
In this episode, host Snigdha Sharma is joined by Makepeace Sitlhou, an independent journalist based in Guwahati, Assam, and Ri Kynti Marwein, editor of Highland Post, a newspaper published in Shillong, Meghalaya. Ri Kynti begins with a hilarious story about the kind of comments made on the Meghalaya chief minister’s Facebook lives, leading to a conversation about the lack of official information available from the government. Makepeace shares a brief account of how Northeastern states are managing the pandemic, based on a report she wrote. She talks about how the relatively low rate of infection recorded in the region could be due to low testing. Ri Kynti talks about a recent report in her newspaper on how an entire village almost starved due to non-renewal of ration cards by the government. She also explains the function of a Dorbar Shnong, or the village headman, under the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council, one of the 25 autonomous regions in India; and their role in assisting the government to contain the pandemic. On being asked about cooperation between different tribal communities during the crisis, Makepeace is of the view that while there are many such instances, everything is not as hunky-dory as a section of the mainstream media tends to make it out to be. She sheds light on how authority is perceived differently by different communities across the Northeast. This and a lot more as they talk about what made news, what didn’t, and what shouldn’t have. Tune in!