After the incident, the police arrested the duo, along with the contractor who intimidated the family of the victims in a bid to silence them.
The violence in Manipur is unending. Everyday there is a heart wrenching incident taking place. On Wednesday again there was a scuffle between the Army and the members of Kuki Community. The mob allegedly torched down some houses in Moreh Tingnoupal district. The Kuki Women Union and Human Rights Orgnaisation is in talks with the Central forces to diffuse the tension. The Statesman’s Chandrani Banerjee talked in detail with the General Secretary of Kuki Women Union and Human Rights Organisation Esther Them Haokip to get to the real scenes behind the constant violence.
Q: What is the reason behind the fresh violence in Moreh today?
A: There is a complete communication gap. The people, especially the women and children have not been given a patient hearing. Arbitrarily women are being questioned by the central forces. I do not know whether language is an issue or there is lack of understanding but ultimately the people are suffering. We are here to answer each and every query. Random questioning of women and children is disappointing.
Q: Why is this random questioning?
A: Random questioning on the basis of doubts is creating a huge problem. Today morning four women went out to buy medicines and they were waiting for an auto while the central forces questioned them. We are ready to interact with the central forces. We are ready to give them all the answers. When the central forces assert themselves to prove a point the mob gets restless. Especially when this happens with women. And that creates a problem. In the morning the women were questioned and manhandled and that irked the mob and they burnt down the houses. Now this can be controlled if the dialogue is allowed. We are here to satisfy their query but they start questioning randomly to make things worse.
Q: Do you think mediation between central forces and locals would help to improve the situation?
A: Locals are in complete disbelief. In the past two months whatever happened with the women and children and with the community in particular they are in complete disbelief. Further, the way this random questioning has been going on in the name of controlling the mob and violence that is turning things worse for everyone. And that needs to be stopped. We all are in hideouts because there is no transparent dialogue.
Q: Why is there constant violence taking place in various districts of Manipur?
A: There is a huge gap between the central forces and locals. The central forces should work taking the locals along. Instead the locals are being targeted. Women and children are living without essentials and there is no one to pay attention towards them. As a result anger and dissatisfaction is brewing among people. That comes out as soon as anyone tries to randomly question or detain them. The matter needs to be handled with sensitivity.
Q: What are the problems that people are facing in a day to day life here since the violence is going on?
A: There are shortage of doctors and medicines. The doctors and the paramedic staff have received threats. This is the reason the primary health centers are empty. 4 women were beaten by the central forces terming them as thieves. The women were giving their identities to the Assam Rifles but no one was ready to listen to them. The blank firings at the mob by the state forces are not required but it is happening. Innocent young boys and men were pulled off their houses and badly beaten up and taken to the police station branding them as anti social elements. State forces freely roam and blank fire every now and then.. Sudden Curfew calls create problems for the women to manage their daily lives.
Q: What are your expectations from the central Government ?
A: Government can do everything. They should listen to all of these problems from us. There should be forward planning without any biases. We should be heard and accordingly planning is needed to curb the violence. And that is not happening.