IMPHAL, November 8: Victim families of Malom firing incident while participating in the recently held nation-wide fast and demonstration to commemorate Manipur’s iron lady Irom Chanu Sharmila’s 11 years of struggle against the controversial Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act, has continued to voice for justice.
On November 5, 2000, 38 year old poet and activist Sharmila began her indefinite hunger strike after she heard the killing of ten people by Assam Rifles in Malom, on the outskirts Imphal three days ago, to have the act, which provides unlimited powers to security forces to shoot at sight and arrest anybody without a warrant, repealed.
“It’s 11 years now, but there’s no justice. We want justice while we’re alive. So AFSPA should go so that such incident don’t repeat in future”, said fish farmer Sinam Kamal, 34, b/o two victims-teacher Robinson, a 1987 child bravery awardee and student Chandramani of Malom village in Imphal west district. Robinson was the lone bread earner of the family when he was killed.
Since then we continued to struggle for our studies in diverse fields, Kamal added. The government is also yet to provide a job to the family.
But it is learnt that family members of two other victims-G Bapu of Lairenjam village and Ksh Inaocha of Malom village both in Imphal west, out of the ten victims, have already passed away without getting justice. Other victims are L Sana(60) of Kabowakching, O Sanayaima, 50, resident of Nambol, K Bijoy, 39, resident of Laimapokpam, A Raghumani, 34 of Nambol Naorem, T Shantikumar, 19, and S Prakash,18, both from Malom.
“We didn’t feel much about AFSPA though we’re from the victim’s families unlike Sharmila in the beginning.
But she has a different courage. She is a kind of Goddess to us.” feels Kamal.
Sharing a similar sentiment, Tokpam Samarendra, 70, father of another victim Shantikumar also demanded removal of the Act so that his son’s soul can rest in peace.
Along with the victim’s families and relatives, nearly a thousand residents from Malom in their mourning attire for the first time joined the day long nation-wide fast to commemorate Sharmila’s struggle and the 53 years of struggle in the Northeast and 20 years in Jammu &Kashmir, on Saturday.
WHAT HAPPENED ON 2ND NOV 2000 AT MALOM
SHARMILA BEGAN HER FAST FROM THE INCIDENT
READ ON THE FOLLOWING ACCOUNT OF AN EYE WITNESS
It’s been the most shocking moment in my life when Indian Security forces murdered the 10 innocent lives at Malom after a failed bomb attack by some UG elements. I witnessed the whole scene right from the blast.
I was working in a field for harvesting on that fateful day (2nd November, 2000) when the bomb exploded at the roadside at around 3.30 pm or something like that. The bomb exploded on the roadside when a column of army was plying on the Tiddim Road (State Highway Number 2) Imphal-CCpur-Aizwal road. The bomb was not a powerful one and it did nothing harmful to the column of army.
However the security forces began to fire indiscriminately in all directions. And then they stopped those who were coming on the road by that time and took them inside the bus stand. One man who was coming on the road by that time was hiding in a small pit when the security forces began their indiscriminate firing to avoid collateral damages. All out of sudden the security forces pull him out of the pit which barely covered him when he was sitting and began to beat him with their guns like cricketers hit the ball with their bat. They were eight innocent people including a friend of mine who was a National Child Bravery awardee who were shot dead by the security forces right at the spot without any mercy like they shoot someone before a firing squad.
Then the security forces entered Malom and Meitram villages which is on the eastern side of the road and killed two other persons who by chance turned out to be friends of mine. The two were coming from Mekola towards to their home at Malom when the security forces stopped them at the adjoining area of Meitram and Malom and killed them right there. Then they began to beat up all the male populations of the two villages without any justification. The residents were made to swim with their hands on their back all along the roads with full of stone chips and beat them while doing so with large sticks which they get from plants along the village roadside. They did not even spared the old and weak ones. My brothers still fear the mere sight of army personnel due to the shock.
They also called out all the female residents including new lactating mother with their two months child and even the old one. My grandmother was 68 years old by the time and they did not even spared her and took all of them out at the spot on the cold night of November when winter was in its peak. Luckily I was working on the western side of the road which spreads to a vast area of agricultural lands for which they did not paid their attention on that side. I reach home when night falls and spend the night at a friend’s house. All they called out for verification returned home at after midnight around dawn break. On the following day they came again all the villagers fled to far away places either riding bicycles, bikes or running and avoided security forces for more than a week or more.
That was the real nature of the Indian security forces who killed innocents peoples for a mere failed bomb attack carried out by some UG elements which did not even break a hair of a personnel.