Home » Voice of Imphal Times: Naked Truth of Naked Protest Remembering Brave 12 Manipuri Women

Voice of Imphal Times: Naked Truth of Naked Protest Remembering Brave 12 Manipuri Women

by IT Desk
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IT Desk

On 15 July 2021, the State of Manipur remembered the Naked Protest of 12 Manipuri women in front of the Western Gate of Kangla, which was occupied by Assam Rifles then. The protest was not only against the alleged brutal killing of a young lady, Thangjam Manorama, by Assam Rifles personnel but also the Draconian Act that protects army and paramilitary personnel while committing such ‘inhuman’ acts as well as against the Indian mindset in which such laws are necessary for ruling peoples of such States as Manipur. The protest was not a mere result of motherly emotion aroused by the brutal killing of a young woman who had been tortured in a military camp and murdered in the name of a counter-insurgency campaign. It was not an emotional outburst of some women, but a political move of women in Manipur who are suffering in the State for over six decades. The State still remembers many instances such as of Rose down to Monorama; the State will not forget the instances such as Langjing Achouba to Oinam Village. These instances do not end in themselves. They all share a common story, i.e. insensitive and inhuman military (including paramilitary personal) approach to counter-insurgency.
Beyond the question of whether Insurgency in Manipur is historically justified, one needs to look into the way the State responds to the insurgency. The counter-insurgency campaign in Manipur alienates the people from the Indian ‘nation’ building process more than the insurgency campaign to fight against the same process. The general picture in peoples’ minds of the counter-insurgency has different hues and shades of racial discrimination (reflected in Armed Forces Special Power Act), nation’s deceives (Merger Agreement and political status of Manipur as Part C, denying Statehood for more than 3 decades).
The collective political mind of the peoples of Manipur is thus shaped by “pebet and her sons”. The underlying spirit is “waiting the time to fight back.” The spirit is well expressed, “Pari imom shamu pangan ba-sa, khomlen meekap thoklo-ne”, the most popular political song of Pan Manipuri Youth League. This image of the struggle of pebet as mother and mother-land definitely motivates the people of Manipur to take a political decision in this conflict situation. Women are not far behind the political movement; their participation and leadership in such movements have a long history, need not mention Nupi Lan, Communist Movements of the late 1940s and early 1950s, even in insurgency politics.
The story around the death of Thangjam Monoramais not narrated from a victim-perspective. Rather her story aroused the sentiments of the people to take a political decision. The story revitalized the long movement against draconian law and racial discrimination. The Anti-Draconian Law was taken to a higher political level from movements of human-rights- and legal fights. The politics in the streets were at its highest height. Days and nights were made equal in the streets of Manipur; every action of all the individuals was against the spirit behind the law and the intent of the Law. The Manipuri women heightened with their naked protest – the protest that reflected the collective political decision. The protest was noticed by the world communities and Indian authorities. The then Prime Minister was strongly moved so that he had to come to Manipur.
Though the Draconian Law could not be “Repealed”, some assembly segments were kept outside the purview of the Law. Secondary gains were shifting of Assam Rifles from Kangla, conversion of Manipur University to a central university. However, the people still cannot see the day without the shadow of Draconian Law still. The spirit of those 12 women is recognized by the history of Manipur. The political decision, rather than the emotional outburst of mothers, is well internalized in the body politic. Remembering the spirit of and their action thereafter is more meaningful only when the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 is fully repealed. What Manipuris say to the world, especially to the peoples of India, is that this Act is inhuman, draconian and the mindset behind is not democratic but colonial

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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