AIDWA Writes to President, Seeks Early Justice for People of Violence-hit Manipur
Image Used For Representation Purpose Only
New Delhi: The All-India Democratic Women’s Organisation (AIDWA) has urged President Droupadi Murmu to use her “good offices to impress upon the government the need to take urgent steps to bring justice to the people and especially the women and children of Manipur.”
Back after a visit to Manipur, where an AIDWA delegation met affected people from both the affected communities – Kukis and Meteis – the organisation has submitted a memorandum to the President, drawing her attention to the panful plight of people living in camps.
Urging the President to draw the Centre’s attention to the “despair and pain” of the people in Manipur, AIDWA said, “The inaction of the Biren Singh government and abdication of its constitutional duty has angered the people of Manipur. The betrayal of trust by the government, administration and police has gravely damaged the harmony and unity of the people. The most important requirement is for a political solution but people feel that the first step towards this is to remove the Chief Minister”.
Read the full memorandum below:
The Honourable President of India
Respected Madam President,
Namaskar. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to present to you the voices from Manipur that we heard during our three-day visit on behalf of the All India Democratic Women’s Association from August 9-11th. Our main purpose was to meet the women victims of sexual assault as well as women who have faced the brunt of violence. They also requested us to convey their deep sense of insecurity and despair to you. We would like to mention at the outset that the Governor Smt Anusuiya Uikey whom we met has directly interacted with many of the victims and given her recommendations to the relevant authorities. However, what we saw and experienced shows that there is no change on the ground and in people’s hearts. We could understand the utter grimness of the situation in Manipur only after visiting the state and interacting with the people there, especially women. We are attached the details of some incidents in the annexure.
A STATE IN PAIN AND SORROW
Manipur is a state in pain. The divisions between the communities who have lived peacefully with each other is now deep and there is fear, distrust and suspicion on both sides. Geographically this is reflected in the raising of barriers, just like a national border between the two regions where the respective communities live. No one from the “other” community is allowed to cross this border. Nearly 5,000 colonies and many villages have been burnt to ashes. Thousands of people from both communities have fled from their homes and are in the relief camps. The tribals have faced the brunt of the violence. The barbarity that innocent citizens have had to face in Manipur is unprecedented. The victims of sexual violence whom we met were young tribal women and their families who narrated unspeakable atrocities committed on them. They despair because there is no sign of justice so far. Some felt that the Supreme Court’s intervention would help. However, there are certain issues which need immediate resolution. For example, the young girl who was gangraped and her mother, whose son and husband were brutally killed while they were trying to save her, told us that they wanted to at least see the dead bodies of their loved ones which are in a mortuary in Imphal and give them a dignified burial. Almost all the tribal families we met whose family members have been killed, are desperate to see the dead bodies. Madam, we earnestly request you to please convey the urgency of this to the government.
We learnt through discussions with the people about the total failure of the state government in protecting them. The inaction of the Biren Singh government and abdication of its constitutional duty has angered the people of Manipur. The betrayal of trust by the government, administration and police has gravely damaged the harmony and unity of the people. The most important requirement is for a political solution but people feel that the first step towards this is to remove the Chief Minister.
TERRIBLE STATE OF RELIEF CAMPS
More than 55,000 people are in the 350 relief camps all over Manipur. They are staying in these relief camps for over three months now with no solution in sight. People are living in dire conditions in these camps. The rains have made the situation worse. They do not know whether they will ever be able to go back to their homes. There are old people, children, babies and pregnant women. Make shift toilets are made. There are no decent facilities in these camps. Women feel very embarrassed having to share their space with all in the relief camps including men. Ordinary everyday activities like bathing, changing clothes, lying down for a rest, etc have to be done in front of everyone including the elders. It has robbed them of their self-respect and dignity. Children are still out of school in the hill areas. Food and nutrition are a casualty. People are eating only dal and rice for three months.
The common people who are in their own houses and not in these relief camps are also totally at a loss how to carry on with their lives in these hostile conditions. They do not have jobs, no other means of livelihood, and no money. Hundreds of families eat only once a day. The ration grains have been stopped. Only the 5 kg grains started during the Covid period is being given. Some schools in Imphal have started where relief camps have not been started.
Respected Madam President, some of the issues which we believe need to be urgently addressed are as follows:
Justice for the victims and immediate arrest of all those guilty. Even those who have already been identified in the videos, have not been arrested; Proper assessment of the losses suffered on both sides in terms of property burnt and looted and adequate compensation to be given; process of rehabilitation of all whose houses have been burnt; the PDS should be expanded and the ration quotas increased to 10 kgs per individual; cash transfers are urgently required since there is huge unemployment and grave loss of income; Steps should be taken to start the facilities for resuming education of all students; doctors should be sent urgently to tribal areas where health facilities have deteriorated.
It is our request that you kindly use your good offices to impress upon the government the need to take urgent steps to bring justice to the people and especially the women and children of Manipur.
Brinda Karat (Patron), P. K. Sreemathi (President) and Mariam Dhawale (General Secretary)
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.