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Those Days, even teenage girl with baby on back were not spared

On the evening of 27th  November, 1997, Miss Farida Begum (16) with her brother’s baby on her back was buying cigarettes for her father from one Mohammed Tahir’s shop at Chaobok Mairel Khul (a locality of Lilong under Thoubal District) at around 10 pm. No sooner when she was asking the cigarette, some army personnel numbering about 30 accompanied by some surrendered militants, who came from the army camp posted aside the Lilong Police Station, soon paraded towards the shop where she was buying things. At the same time, two other girls were also buying something from the same shop while some person are seen chattering near the shop as usual. Then to their surprised, those armies rounded up the shop and without asking anything they started destroying things kept in the shop. And after that they pull out the shop owner Mohammed Tahir and his son Mohammed Apik, and subsequently roughed up inhumanely.            
At the same time, Farida Begum was whisked away some 500 mts. south of the shop. Moments later, gun shots were heard. Her relatives rushed to the spot from which the sound came, and to their horror, they found Farida lying dead with the baby still on her back. Miraculously, the child survived the liquidation, but the scene was horrible. The baby’s body was completely smeared with human bloods. Curiously enough, the dreamy and petrified baby uttered Che! Che! Ee! Ee! (This means Sister! Sister! Blood! Blood!), said the appalled and shocked locals.            
As the news spread the local people in wrath stormed the Lilong police station protesting against the killing. The agitators also surrounded the adjoining areas at where the army held their camp. Reliable source said, the army prevented their Brig. Shri Rajendra Singh from going out of the post because the situation being tense. Official reports said that locals didn’t allow the police to recover the dead body after the firing came to end.    
 The irate mob mostly women, with their torch on their hands dismantled the police station fencings, took down sign boards and damaged a few numbers of police vehicles. The security personnel opened fire several rounds to put down the exasperated mob. Following it, they ran for cover and 30 of them hid near the foot of one house which belonged to Mohammed Sirajuddin just opposite to the station. But the armies soon kicked open the door where most of the womenfolk were hiding in fear. They were then beaten up black and blues. Later on, the house caught fire from the torches seized from the womenfolk by the army.            
The father of the deceased Mohammed Chaoba, a police naik, when contacted by this writer on the following day told that he was informed about Farida’s arrest by his son, Mohammed Atau Rahaman. He immediately hastened to the Lilong Police station and apprised the officer-in-charge, Mohammed Giasuddin about the situation. Surprisingly, the O.C. expressed his inability to take actions upon the army without the knowledge of the Thoubal S.P. Instead, he advised Mohammed Chaoba to file a case against the army. At this remark the latter told the former that he was in charge at that time, and it was his duty to locate the where about of the girl and under what condition at that moment she was in. Dejected, and disgusted with himself and unable to discharge his obligation as a policeman, he returned home only to find his dear daughter dead.

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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