In the midst of the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur, a glimmer of hope emerged as the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) organized a protest near the ‘Wall of Remembrance’. This solemn structure, erected to honor the lives lost during this brutal conflict, stood tall amidst the chaos, reminding everyone of the human cost of such hatred.
Meanwhile, the Manipur Police made significant progress in bringing justice to those involved in the heinous incident of May 4. The video of two women being paraded naked had sent shockwaves through the nation, leaving a stain on the conscience of society. However, on July 20, just a day after the footage surfaced, the cop immediately made their first arrest. This marked the beginning of a much-needed sense of accountability.
As the days passed, three more arrests were made, as the law enforcement agencies chased the trail of those responsible. The authorities displayed their commitment to delivering justice, showing the public that such actions will not be tolerated in a civilized society. On July 22, news broke of the sixth person being apprehended. This arrest, however, came with a disturbing revelation – the suspect was a juvenile. It was a stark reminder of the complexities surrounding this issue, where young minds are swayed towards cruelty and hatred.
In a separate development, the fifth charged, a 19-year-old youth, was also captured by the authorities on July 22. This inflexible pursuit of justice gave hope to the victims and their families, assuring them that their suffering will not be in vain.
Amidst these arrests, it was disclosed that one of the women in the video was the wife of an ex-army man, a decorated soldier who had served his country during the Kargil War. The irony was not lost on anyone, as a nation that had hailed him as a hero was now witnessing the horrifying treatment his wife had endured. This revelation only fueled the anger and determination to bring those responsible to justice.
The ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur has left a deep scar on the State, with more than 160 lives lost and countless others harmed. It all started on May 3, when the ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ took place, protesting against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. What began as a call for justice immediately escalated into a cycle of violence and bloodshed, tearing communities apart.
As Manipur stands at the crossroads, it is essential to remember that the actions of a some should not define the entirety of a community. The ‘Wall of Remembrance’ serves as a powerful symbol, reminding us of the lives lost and the need to bridge the divide.
In the midst of tragedy, hope continues to flicker, fueled by the relentless pursuit of justice and the unity shown by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum.