Imphal, July 23:
In the shadow of the recent unrest that has gripped Manipur for more than 80 days, local citizens paused to honor the memory of Thokchom Rabina and Chungkham Sanjit, victims of a notorious false encounter that took place in broad daylight on July 23, 2009, known as the Khwairamband Keithel incident.
An intimate commemoration was held at Lamsang Bazar, coordinated by the Joint Action Committee against the Brutal Killing of Th. Rabina and Ch. Sanjit, 23rd July 2009. The event was attended by representatives from several organizations, including Tammi Chingmi Apunba Lup, Apunba Lup; Nupi Khunai, Lamsang; Nupi Khunai, Heibongpokpi; Haorang Meira Paibi, and Nongchup Imphal Palem Ima Apunba Lup (NIMPAL).
Alongside residents from Lamsang Bazar and nearby regions, and family members of the late Th. Rabina, attendees laid floral tributes to portraits of the duo. They shared reflections on the fatal incident, the victims’ lives, and the actions taken by security forces that led to their untimely deaths.
Speakers expressed their personal experiences, the impacts on the victims’ families, and their condemnation of the unlawful police actions. They specifically targeted the Assam Rifles and Manipur State Police, whom they blamed for a series of fabricated encounter incidents that have resulted in countless deaths and widespread trauma.
The gathering also addressed a recent viral video that has drawn public attention. Although attendees decried the video, they argued that the focus on this single incident overshadowed the broader pattern of suffering inflicted on the people of Manipur, including killings, torture, police’s excess actions, and other unfortunate incidents. They added that the video has been used to distract from these systemic issues, and it cannot be allowed to eclipse the larger reality of violence and injustice.