NGOs demand in-depth re-investigation in Rasheshwori killing case

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By Gautam Sharma
IMPHAL, July 8: IMPHAL, July 8: Various NGOs, community-based and voluntary organizations are continuing to come out against crime against people living with HIV/AIDS.

Demanding an in-depth re-investigation in the killing of Rasheshwori who was reported to be killed by her own husband for not disclosing her HIV status and the inaction of the state government in various other crimes against people living with HIV/AIDS, various organizations today organized a sit-in-protest again at Singjamie Chingmakhong waiting shed in continuation of their previous agitations against crime against people living with HIV/AIDS.

The protest was jointly orgaised by the SAATHI, MNP+, WAD, PWN+, UNICAM, AMPWN+, CSD and CNPWM with some members of a transgender’s community-based organization AASHA.

While demanding re-investigation in the Rasheshwori killing case, the protesting organizations have also raised a question regarding the failure of the state government to act out against perpetrators of crime against PLWHA.

Citing various incidents of crime against the PLWHA especially against women and children, the protestors raised the incident of killing a teenage boy, German (Noinoisana) sometimes back.

During the protest, a women NGO worker has said that most women and child who are living with HIV are facing various challenges in living already. She added that they are not only victims of stigma and discrimination but there are various other unbearable pains and sufferings which the concern authorities have failed to understand.

She confidently said that, it is because of the lack of special policies regarding protection of women and child living with HIV/AIDS.

She further informed this reporter of the IFP, that the govt has still not provided the women and child LWHA with any special policy regarding their safety and protection and help them to lead a secure life.

She further added that there are many untold tearful stories relating to the PLWHA.

With regard to the Rasheshwori killing case, the NGO leader informed IFP that Rasheshwori’s husband Ibomcha was well conscious of her HIV status and her past life before they had settled and started living together. Ibomcha was fully aware that Rasheshwori was a widow having two children. The NGO leader further said the duo also drop-in together for a HIV family counseling at an NGO called UNICAM near Khurai Salanthong, which provides services for HIV care and intervention programmes.

Rasheshwori gave birth to a child while living with Ibomcha but the child died after surviving for just three months, added the NGO leader.

Ibomcha and Rasheshwori came to know each other after the demise of Rasheshwori’s first husband. Rasheshwori was a sand collector at a Sekmai sand quary while Ibomcha was a truck driver. As the duo met frequently and was engaged in related works, their relation became intimate and later both of them decided to live together even though Ibomcha’s family members were against their decisions, the NGO leader told IFP.

The NGO leader further said there were reports of Ibomcha’s family members frequently torturing Rasheshwori and even Ibomcha’s brother Milan used to beat her blue and black while she was alive.

Rasheshwori had even shared this information to some of her friends who work with a community based organisations (CBO) called AASHA, the NGO leader said.

She also added that ‘local folk suspect and accused Milan for killing Rasheshwori’, even though Ibomcha had voluntarily confessed that he killed Rasheshwori. The NGO leader speculates that Ibomcha’s confession was to save his own brother Milan.

Raising concern about the future of the two children left behind by Rasheshwori, who’s both the parents are no more, the protestors said the issue is crucial because this is not the first incident of discrimination against PLWHAs as two PLWHA were also killed in controversial situation during 2010, one was a woman hailing from Ghari who was on ART and another the teenage boy hailing from Uripok, the protestors said.

The protestors also hold various placards to express their grievance to the government and other concern authority for not considering their voices.

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