IMPHAL, November 2: Commemorating the 13th anniversary of the infamous Malom massacre, family members, friends and well-wishers of the victims today paid floral tribute at the memorial site of the victims at Malom Tulihal Kha.
It may be recalled that on November 2, 2000, ten individuals including a 60-year-old woman were shot dead by troops of 8th Assam Rifles in the aftermath of a bomb blast which targeted an Assam Rifles convoy at Malom Tulihal Makha.
The firing incident had prompted Irom Chanu Sharmila to start her iconic fast which she has been continuing for the past 13 years.
While a case lodged by the family against the AR remains pending with the Guwahati High Court, Imphal bench, the family of the deceased expressed their disappointment on the justice delivery system in the state.
“We have lost our faith in the government. For the last 13 years, the families of the victims are deprived of their right to justice”, lamented Sinam Kamal (victim family).
Another member of the victim’s family, Tokpam Somorendra, expressed apprehension on how human rights are disregarded in the state.
“Without any reasons, innocent civilians are shot disregarding their right to life,” he said.
He appealed to the authority concerned to expedite the judgement delivery process.
The victims are Leisangbam ongbi Ibetombi, Gurumayum Bapu Sharma, Oinam Sanatomba Singh, Kangjam Bijoy alias Naouba, Amakcham Raghumani, Soibam Prakash, Kshetrimayum Inaocha, Tokpam Shantikumar, Sinam Robin and Sinam Chandramani who is a winner of National Child Bravery Award in 1988.
According to a news report of the Newmai News Network, members of Just Peace Foundation (JPF) paid floral tribute to the departed souls at the memorial site.
It said, “On November 2, 2000, in Malom, a town in the Imphal valley, the 10 civilians were allegedly shot and killed by the Assam Rifles while waiting at a bus stop. The incident later came to be known to activists as the “Malom Massacre.” The next day`s local newspapers published graphic pictures of the dead bodies, including one of a 62-year old woman, Leisangbam Ibetomi, and 18-year old Sinam Chandramani, a 1988 National Child Bravery Award winner”.
“As many as 42 people were dragged out from their houses and cornered at a site and severely beat up by the personnel of the Paramilitary Force after the firing”, the news agency continued.
Three day after Sharmila began her strike, she was arrested by the police and charged with an “attempt to commit suicide”, which is unlawful under section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, and was later transferred to judicial custody, the NNN news report continued.
“On Saturday, Irom Singajit, a trustee of JPF in a statement informed that the Amnesty International, India has launched a four-day campaign to release Sharmila across the country from today. The fast by Sharmila will complete 13 years on November 5”, it said before addding that in Manipur, a one-day fasting will be observed at the office premises of the Sharmila Kanba Lup on November 5 and then a candle lighting at night as part of the campaign.
On November 4, a series of Sharmila programmes showing solidarity to Sharmila will be organised at Kashala Sanskritic Manch, Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi Univesity, Wardha in Maharashtra, including a visit by the campaigners to Sevagram where Gandhi had launched his non-violent struggle after coming back from South Africa against the British rule.
During the campaign the Civil Rights and Social Justice Society is also planning a big public meeting in Kerala, the home state of Defence Minister AK Antony. Leader of Kerala assembly, VS Achyutanand will also take part in the meeting.
Further according to the NNN, in West Bengal, activists are also preparing to handover memorandum to the Governor of that state on the demand to release Sharmila, the statement said.