By: Sophia Arambam
A legend, an enigma, a unique human being,
Unsung and unknown
To most people of the world,
Frail body, wild hair, pale skin and pipes in her nose
I met her for the first time yesterday.
Pausing in her brisk walk through the small hospital corridor
She disinterestedly listened to my inane words.
She calls herself, “Queen of Prison”
But if kings and queens were to come to her,
She wouldn’t even smile,
But might ask them with her firm voice
Can you remove AFSPA from Manipur?
If the Chief Minister, or even the Prime Minister were to meet her,
She wouldn’t even care
But she might just ask them,
Why haven’t you removed AFSPA from Manipur?
If the richest man on earth were to offer her all his wealth
It would mean nothing to her,
But she might only ask him:
Can your wealth remove AFSPA from Manipur?
If God were to gift her the tampha khudop yaioiba
She would accept it
But to wish only for one thing
‘Remove AFSPA from Manipur, from the face of the Earth’
The draconian law that robs the basic right of all human beings
The right to a fair trial and justice,
Even if guilty of murder and all evil crimes,
Whereby the Armed Forces is bestowed the power
Of being Judge, Jury, Executioner.
For its removal she has been fasting
For 11 long years, no food has she taken,
Except liquid food forcibly nose-fed through pipes,
She languishes in hospital, in court and in jail
The only three places which is now her ‘Home’
Nothing matters to her except her cause.
AFSPA- Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.
Tampha Khudop Yaioiba- Ring supposedly with superpowers, a myth whereby the ring grants all the wishes of the wearer.