The group photo showed deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong in the middle with victorious candidate W R Kharlukhi on his left.

Ministers and MLAs in Meghalaya are apparently immune to Coronavirus, and they don’t need to wear masks or maintain social distance at all.

A ‘victory photo’ of the ruling coalition members, after NPP leader W R Kharlukhi was elected to the Rajya Sabha on Friday, has surprised everyone in Meghalaya.

The group photo showed deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong in the middle with victorious candidate W R Kharlukhi on his left.

Several other senior members of the ruling coalition, including home minister Lahkmen Rymbui, MLAs Thomas Sangma and Sainbor Shullai, along with a lot of others, were seen standing shoulder to shoulder to fit into the frame of the historic ‘victory photo’.

While the WHO and the Ministry of Health have made ‘social distancing’ mandatory for people to fight COVID19 pandemic, the ‘historic’ group photo of the Meghalaya politicians is unexpected.

Luckily, chief minister Conrad K. Sangma and health minister A.L. Hek, who are leading the fight against COVID19 pandemic in Meghalaya, were not seen in the group photo.

Amid jubilation over the electoral victory, the politicians and ministers of Meghalaya forgot that ‘social distancing’ has now become the ‘new-normal’ across the globe, as it prevents or slows down the spread of the killer virus.

In addition to flouting the ‘new normal’ norm of ‘social distancing’, most of the political leaders, including the home minister and elected Rajya Sabha candidate did not feel it necessary to put on the masks as they stood close to each other.

Though deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong was seen wearing a surgical mask, he had pulled it down partially to expose his nose for the ‘historic’ photo session.

Did the politicians forget that not wearing a mask in public places is now an offence under the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897?

The law is applicable to all states, and there is no relaxation for even ministers or MLAs.

Some states like Uttarakhand even decided to put people in jail for 6 months and slap a fine of Rs 5,000 for not wearing masks in public.

If lawmakers turn law breakers in amid COVID19 pandemic, what lessons will common tribal people of Meghalaya learn?

Anirban Roy

Anirban Roy is Editor-in-Chief of Northeast Now. He can be reached at: editor@nenow.in