Voices from relief camps

Voices from relief camps

Voices from relief camps. Manipur riots May 2023

Khuman Lampak Relief camps 
Let me explain about when the violence actually started. The attacks began at Kangvai. I remember seeing the messages being circulated. The messages were shared in Kuki language. I know Kuki language. The message read, “Meiteis are burning our houses, and firing as well. Are you waiting for us to die? Come out immediately!”
It was around 3 at noon but not before 4 pm. After a while, I saw another message which stated that a truck driver who supplies water is being assaulted at Tuibong. I sensed what’s coming with the charged atmosphere and decided it would be better to quickly take our meals. I am from Ngathal village. At the entrance to Ngathal, there is a bridge which is close to our home. I had started laying the food and was about to eat when I heard someone shouting a loud cry from Thingkangphai side. 
They didn’t just come empty handed. They brought cudgels, swords, stones, and they were armed to the teeth with lethal weapons. It was still early and the sun had not set yet. When we saw them approaching, we realized it was going to turn ugly. 
I quickly stepped into the only torn chappal that was near the door and flung my child on my back. I had no time to wrap him up or bring my clothes. The Meitei valley is located a little far from Ngathal. The Meities are settled near a ground, while I live amid the Kukis. 
There are many locals who used to be friendly but nobody gave us any warning. Then we fled by locking our houses. We had no idea how bad that situation had escalated into. We ran down. Although we saw a few at that time, they were all running for their lives. We gathered with those few who also arrived. It was around 15 of us and we fled way past the Meitei village and arrived at a locality called Kanan. The place is situated beside Khuga and it is near the foothills. We went into hiding at a house there. The owner of the house was generous. We found just a mother and child staying in that house. They requested not to make any noise. “If they come inside, we would not be able to help you. So, please remain quiet and we can spend this night together,” they said. We endured the night with great fear and apprehension. Then they took us to a place called Ponpui and made us stay at a government school.

We don’t know for what reason and why, the people of Moreh are so innocent. There is no grudge or hatred among us. It was the final day of Moreh Kondong Lairembi Haraoba, it is one of the most important festivals of the people of Moreh. We were preparing for the festivities. Suddenly we saw a big flame of fire, and smokes.

Then, the houses started burning. If it was a normal fire, we could have saved our properties but they were with guns and they even threw stones. We could not do anything. We ran for our lives, crossing the river. With the small kids we ran for our lives. We didn’t even bring the milk for the baby.

After awhile my husband called us and said the commandos have come to pick us up, we went to Easter Shine School and were picked up by the commandos. That day, with nothing to eat we survived with some water we got from the Commandos. The Assam Rifles came to pick us up at around 4: 00 am in the morning. And we stayed at the camp. They took there safely but if they have done something for us when they started burning our houses, we would have been more satisfied. They fired bullets and threw stones; we had nothing to fight back so we have to run for our lives. We are not very rich family, but we had what it needs to be called a Home. 

Now, I don’t even have a plate or a bowl.

I don’t have a place to sleep. Every animal, or birds have home, and now, I don’t have a home. When my son went to take the food while I was tending to the youngest, he burned his hands as we have no proper plate to take the food.

My niece often asked when are we going back home. I can’t control my emotions, it’s heart-breaking.

The incident that happened on 3rd May, the day is MUKNA numit, the day after Lairoi of the Lai haraoba of Kondong Lairembi.

Around 4:30 in the evening, 40/50 of the Kuki people came at Moreh Bazar and started vandalising the shops and after that they burned down our belongings. The burned down the hotels and shops with tyres. Everything was burned down. We left everything and ran to the police station.

After they feel that they cannot protect all of us, the Assam Rifle of the Moreh took us to their camp. Now, if we are to return back, how are we suppose to stay and whom should we trust for our safety. We have no trust in the Assam Rifles at Moreh, it was in front of them that our properties were burnt and we were tortured.

They didn’t stop or took any actions. If any Security ensure to protect us, we want to go back and stay at our homes in Moreh. But with the given situation, we, the people of Moreh have no trust in the security. The Kukis from the Myanmar are coming in non-stop and are settling illegally. Many such incidents have happened in the past. We want to implement NRC and drive out the illegal immigrants from the Myanmar. And also remove the SoO with the Kuki Militants. Kindly take up the necessary action, we want to live in harmony.

Moirang Relief Camps 

Incidents of being fired upon from a corner, and from another spot on a hill and many such attacks continued daily without break. On top of that, a mother was assaulted physically and verbally; incidents of four people being beaten and such reports were also shown on local TV channels yesterday. For committing similar acts of violence such as physically assaulting a woman, what legal action can be taken up against them? The widely demanded actions must be taken up by the people, the state government and the government of India and appropriate punishments must be given. The facts must be pursued in connection with the recent incident. Please find out who started it; who is in the wrong; who incited the violence and who hit first. Also find out who the real indigenous people are. Just to pursue their vested interests, our fathers, brothers, sons, mothers and younglings were killed with such levels of hostility and degrees of violence. They were assaulted. Young children, the patients and the elderly women were all killed in Moreh. After they launched an attack, many died unjustly. A befitting punishment must be given to them.  The Meiteis have plenty of courage and will. But we happened to live under the Government of India. As we were told to refrain by considering the SoO agreement, we held back despite the anger boiling inside us. We can only appeal to the Government of India to carry out its duties. We are raising our voices continuously to the authorities concerned. We are silently bearing the brunt of this conflict. However, if we run out of our limited patience, the result will be ugly and to prevent such from happening, we appeal to the Indian government to bring a resolution under the law.

On the evening of 3rd May, I was at my place, I never though such incident would take place. Suddenly, they started the fire, I live with my two children and my wife. I sent them away first. I was concern about their safety. Luckily, I took them to a safer site. When I return back, they had already started burning the houses. I live at a rental house, and to save my place I took out some knives and weapons.They came in mob and attacked me with the Knives and even fired bullets. I was almost dead; I lost my consciousness. Some kukis came and asked me if I was a Meitei. I replied that I’m not a Meitei and I am injured in their dialect. They asked me ran along with them and I followed them. This was my chance to survive. It was so disheartening, I never imagined there would be such clash even if there were some tensions among the communities. What they did was well planned and we had no time to prepare or run away. I am a shopkeeper and they burned down my shop too. We didn’t even bring a single thing with us, the shirt and pant that I wore is the only thing I have.

As close and amicable friends, we have been with the Kukis for 40 years. Yet they have unexpectedly started a war against us and we mothers feel devastated by this. Left dissatisfied by just killing people, they started attacking our gods and this has hurt us deeply. What the Kukis have done is wrong! We had saved them at many critical junctures. During the Paite-Kuki clash, we took out rallies against it. We acted as mediators between the two so that both could co-exist peacefully. Kukis fought in a severe clash with the Paites. As Kuki houses were torched, we salvaged their belongings from the fire. I was rounded up by Kukis at Pibom. They asked, “Why are you transporting the rice belonging to Paites?” As I got apprehended by the Kukis. I answered them, “I had been carrying their rice to find a means through which I can bring back your belongings.”

“As I come out, I am bringing your belongings along with me and taking the rice back to the Paites when I return,” I said. I told them, “You can kill me if you wish but I am not taking sides between the two.”

I borrowed a hand cart from non-locals though I had no experience of using it ever. I pushed the cart to transport the rice to Paites. There was one Letkholun, a kuki. His house in my locality was rescued from being torched. He fled the riot without packing any clothes just like us today. His belongings and his crockery were transported out by myself. Then I got detained by the Paites in front of the Old Bazaar Police Station. 

Who are the witnesses to this? It was SO Mema SO Achou.

 They put the barrel of a gun on me. I became furious. I’ll be frank here with you. I told them, “You can shoot me on my butt.” The SOo member became highly anxious. “Why Thourani? Aren’t you afraid of getting killed?” he questioned. I am no longer afraid of death at this point, I said. “Our Kuki friends are starving. I am transporting their belongings and doing the same for the Paites by pushing this handcart,” I said. We gave our assistance to that extent. At that time, there was this OC Mangli from Thanga. We endured so many challenges and difficulties with OC Mangli; Ima Leimarel Apunba Lup, Meitei Society, MRO, and myself as president of Nupi Samaj. By coming together, the four of us took out a peace rally on foot to Khengjang. Another rally reached Pungmon.  We actually stopped the clash between the two. On the contrary, they have now conspired with each other and want to kill us, the ones who ended their conflict.  Who would not feel betrayed and pained by this? Wouldn’t you?  

They want to massacre the community which saved them. Who would not feel outraged by this? As we rescued them at that time, one of them could have at least returned the favor today.

#illegal_Kuki_Millitary ~ why they are fighting against the Manipur Meiteis.

I am from Ikou and I am the secretary of Ikou village development committee. There are around 120 households and around 40 households are located beyond the river. Our location is in Imphal East under Khundrakpam assembly constituency. We are from the last Meitei village located on the northern side of Imphal. Ikou village is located between two Kuki villages. We saw that the tribal people, who are my next-door neighbors, ran off to Saikul with their belongings in autos. We began to feel fear and started fleeing as well. The roadways were found to be blocked and they started pelting stones at us. My brother-in-law got struck by a stone on the forehead and got injured. He is being treated at Porompat. Nine people stayed behind when we fled. On May 4, we requested the BSF to send a few personnel to Ikou and rescue those who were left behind. They answered that they are not supposed to go there and were meant to stay at Dolaithabi and Pairempat. They can only go when the paramilitary forces arrive, they said. If they are going, our request is to help us rescue those who were left behind. They said, they are helpless and instructed to approach the politicians, MLAs and officers. Four personnel witch lathis stopped me from going. The women and children were let go but I stayed behind to talk with them.They said talks are being held with KSO and tribal unions etc. with Assam Rifles and they won’t come to this side. 

Assam Rifles left and after an hour, Kuki militants and those armed militants from Burma and started attacking Ikou by torching the village and vandalising it. This means that Assam Rifles are hand in glove with the Kuki militants in a ploy to murder the Meitie civilians. Now it appears that the Army is here to assist them against us. Although we escaped, we faced many odds to reach here. We have lost all dignity as a human being. 

What are we going to do? Aren’t we Manipuris?

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post