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the act, which provides unlimited powers to security forces to shoot at sight and arrest anybody without a warrant, repealed.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.