The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, May 21: In what could be the first of its kind, residents of Keinou village in Bishnupur district Wednesday consigned to the flames toy guns collected from children and shops in the village at the Keinou High School ground.
The idea behind the act, according to the villagers was to save children from imitating combat fighters while playing with toy guns as it could colour their minds and motivate them to engage in criminal activities.
With toy guns, children practice mock fight with each other while imitating the militants and army which is not a good sign, members of the Keinou Apunba Lup observed while talking to journalists covering the event today.
They also wanted a complete ban on the selling of toy guns from the area and children to choose alternative games other than playing with guns.
Extending support to the notion of local elders, children of the area carried out a rally at the Keinou village today and surrendered their toy guns to the elders. Later, they were burnt down.
The children displayed placards like `We hate toy guns, we love football`, `We learnt from the incidents involving our friends that toy guns are not friendly to us`, `No to toy guns, yes to yubi lakpi`, `We hate toy guns, we want traditional conventional games`, `Don’t make me blind, I love football, I hate toy gun` etc.
The burning of toy guns was meant to change the minds of children who play with toy guns, said Amarjit Yumnam, a member of an NGO of the area.
In the present state scenario children playing with such toys may colour their minds and later may engage in criminal activities, he said.
With toy guns, children practice mock fights with each other while imitating the militants and army which is not a good sign. Womenfolk of area observed while talking to some journalists their fear of the negative attitude of playing with the toy guns. The impact would be very dangerous for the future of the children as there was high possibility of indulging in various negative things in their future life.
Toy guns no more resemble toys for the children, as most of them look like real guns and children even use small iron pellets as bullets causing hurt to them, the elders said.
Ibemhal of Keinou area, who is the parent of two children, said that she didn’t want toy guns to be used by children since it caused lots of problems like hurting each other in their eyes, hands, face etc.
Such practice would also make the children think in a negative way, she observed urging that toy guns should be totally banned.
The elders of the locality also expressed concern at the financial problems faced by them in affording the toy guns when their children demanded them. They said, “Not only this, parents faced a big problem in affording these toy guns for their children as toy guns are sold at Rs. 100 as minimum price and many costly toy guns are demanded by the children from their parents.”
In every locality, mention may be made, children enjoy playing with toy guns, a change that seems to have been brought by the prevailing social conditions in the state.
With the changing times, the manner of children’s games are also going through a transformation. Children instead of enjoying playing with indigenous games or other popular games want to buy toy guns and stage mock gunfight dramas with their toy guns.