Imphal, Dec 30:
In a stark indictment of the government’s inability to quell over seven months of persistent violence in Manipur, the tragic death of a village defense volunteer, Jamesbond Ningombam, has further underscored the escalating crisis in the region. The Government’s failure to effectively maintain law and order has left the citizens in a perpetual struggle for peace, with devastating consequences.
Jamesbond Ningombam, a 35-year-old resident of Mayang Langjing Taning, had defiantly assumed the role of a village volunteer since the outbreak of violence, according to one of his close friends. His commitment to community service in the face of adversity symbolized the resilience of individuals striving to protect their communities amid the ongoing turmoil.
The somber events took a tragic turn when, at approximately 7 am, Jamesbond’s lifeless body was brought to the state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in Imphal. Meira Paibi leaders from Mayang Langjing and Kadangband Part II, who arrived at the JNIMS mortuary, expressed vehement condemnation against the Government for its perceived failure to protect the people.
Kangjam Ongbi Borkeina, a prominent leader of Meira Paibi from Mayang Langjing, placed blame squarely on the Government’s shoulders, asserting that its failure to safeguard village volunteers led to such tragic incidents. She alleged that Kuki individuals were responsible for attacking Meitilei residents and called for the resignation of Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh. Santileima, the secretary of Kadangband Part II, offered a poignant perspective on the plight faced by women in the area since the violence erupted on May 3. Despite the deployment of Assam Rifles regiments 22 and 32, as well as the presence of CRPF, she lamented the Government’s inability to prevent Kuki militants from attacking and killing Meiteis. Detailing the circumstances surrounding Jamesbond’s demise, Santileima highlighted his leadership role within the Village Defence Volunteer group spanning five Gram Panchayats. The fatal incident occurred during the vigilant protection of the village, with Kuki militants launching a deadly assault around 3:30 am, resulting in Jamesbond’s severe injuries and subsequent death.
In a poignant plea to the Government, Santileima questioned the credibility of the peace they purportedly claimed to have brought to Manipur. This tragic episode serves as a stark reminder of the dissonance between official assurances and the harsh reality experienced by communities caught in the crossfire of prolonged violence.