We are still naked, removal of AFSPA will clothe us: Ramani
By A Staff Reporter
IMPHAL | July 15
The Supreme Court’s order for CBI inquiry into fake encounter killings in Manipur has not “clothed” the dozen elderly women, who disrobed at the gate of Imphal’s Kangla fort on this day 13 years ago to protest excesses committed by security forces in the state.
“The Supreme Court ruling does not clothe us. Until the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is repealed from the state, we would take it that we are still naked and without cloths,” Ima Ramani said. She, however, welcomed the ruling.
Ima Ramani, is one of the 12 protesters. The unprecedented protest was triggered by the killing of Thangjam Manorama by personnel of the Assam Rifles after alleged rape on July 11, 2004.
Following the incident the then Okram Ibobi Singh government withdrew the armed forces act from Imphal Municipal Limit.
Thirteen years after the demonstration that shook the security establishment of the country 11 of the protesters, who are now fondly called by citizens mothers were honoured today for their courage to “rebel” against the “repressive” actions of the security forces.
One of them, Ima Ibetombi passed away some years back.
To commemorate the historic day a programme called by Anti-Repression Day is observed here today at Gandhi Memorial hall, Imphal today. It was organised by observation committee of Anti-Repression Day.
The first Anti-Repression Day was observed a day after the Supreme Court ordered CBI inquiry into 83 cases of alleged fake encounter killings.
The apex court yesterday ordered inquiry into 83 cases of extra-judicial killings in the state by the state police and security personnel and fixed the deadline of December 31 for registering FIRs, completion of investigation and filing of charge-sheets in appropriate cases.
Those gathered at the programme honoured 11 Imas by presenting them shawls. A booklet about the life of the 12 Imas was also released during the programme. They observed a two minute silence in honour of Ima Ibetombi, who took part in the protest. She died some years ago.
Former member of Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Kh. Chonjohn attended the function as chief guest. During his speech he had emphasised on how AFSPA had affected the normal life of people of Manipur. He said that taking advantage of AFSPA, armed personnel had committed excesses.
Babloo Loitongjam, executive director Human Rights Alert (HRA), Johnson Elangbam, president of United Committee Manipur (UCM) and Thounaojam Brinda, social activist spoke during the function.
They said that they welcomed the decision of SC yet the fight is not over and should pressurise the CBI who was given the responsibility of these cases. Johnson urged to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to especially look into the matter.
“The programme is held to commemorate the protest, celebrate the courage of Manipuri women to rebel against repressive measures and honour the Imas. The disrobing is symbolic whipping of the security forces with Imas’ fanek for humiliation and defiling the body of Manipuri women,” Babloo said.
Retired professor of political science of GP Women College, Rose Mangshi Haokip and Kh. Anandi, chairperson of observation committee attended the function as guest of honour and president respectively.