TODAY -

Rehab policy for victims of excesses needed: KeM
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 28 2018: Manipur needs a policy to rehabilitate victims who continue to suffer penury even decades after their loved ones were taken away from them.

The rehab package must also include monthly pension for women whose husbands and family members have been killed or have been made to disappear.

This was stated by retired IAS officer Harsh Mandar, who is a member of Karwan-e-Mohabbat during an interaction with media persons at Giving Tree, Sangaiprou today.

Harsh Mander is in the State to look at the human rights violations in the State including mob lynching, fake encounters, extra judicial killings and other cases.

Speaking to media persons Harsh Mandar said that Karwan-e-Mohabbat is a peace workers' group comprising of writers, lawyers, filmmakers and other concerned citizens of the country.

The Karwan-e-Mohabbat or the Caravan of Love is a citizens initiative taken up some 15 months back.

It is a journey of solidarity that aims to atone, assists in efforts to seek justice as well as document and communicate the stories of victims of hate crimes.

Before coming to Manipur on their 3 day visit they visited 22 other States of the country and met families of targeted hated crimes, extra judicial killings and fake encounters.

Soon on their arrival here, they visited the family members of 26 years old Farooq Khan who was lynched by a mob at Tharoijam village and also witnessed the widely circulated video of the incident which shows the presence of police personnel as well as children when Farooq laid on the field, helpless and wounded.

The team has also interacted with some friends of Farooq who recalled him as a bright, generous and a promising young man, said Harsh Mander.

Their parents and sibling are devastated and also anguished with what they see as very slow pace of police investigation, with two men who accompanied their son still not apprehended for questioning, said Mander.

The lynching took place two and half months back.

Although the actual facts of what happened in the case will come to light only after the police investigation is over, what is particularly troubling is that the incident followed the same patterns of lynching in other parts of the country, added Harsh Mander.

Their second visit was to the residence of Salima Memcha a widow from Thoubal who has shown great courage and resilience in pursuing justice after her husband Fazurudin was killed in an alleged extra judicial manner in 2010 supported by EEVFAM, recounted Mander.

He continued saying that Salima shared with them that it was very important for her to pursue justice instead of remaining silent, because her fight is a part of a larger campaign to confront the impunity of security forces and assert the rights and dignity of the people of Manipur.

On their second day they met groups of people from Kuki and Naga community all of whom represented families of victims of extra judicial killings and police firing, he continued.

There were Kuki women whose family members were killed in a police firing during an anti-dam protest against the construction of Khuga Dam and Naga men from Nungleibam whose loved ones were killed by the Army.

During their solidarity meeting, leaders of various communities, Church leaders and leaders of various CSOs were also present, said Mander.

The team also visited Malom to meet the family members of the 10 civilians who were killed by Assam Rifles personnel on November 2, 2000 in the infamous Malom massacre.

It was deeply moving to witness how raw the wounds of the surviving parents, siblings and widows are even after the passage of 18 years and all of them have reiterated that their pursuit of justice is aimed towards the larger goal of peace building in Manipur society, added Mander.

He further said that Karwan-e-'Mohabbat applauds the relentless works of the CSOs of the State, particularly EEVFAM in documenting 1528 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings that demonstrated a systemic pattern of shooting and killing over the last three decades.

These decades of insurgency and country insurgency operations have left many unhealed wounds on the collective psyche of the people of Manipur, he observed.

They are convinced after their travel through Manipur that the wounds can possibly be healed, if the State, civil society and victims come together for the same cause.

Mander said that they believe that justice needs to be ensured at least for the cases which are with the Supreme Court of India and for which the evidences are available.

But for the large number of killings and encounters, what Manipur needs is a truth reconciliation initiative in which the intense suffering and injustice that the people of Manipur have undergone is publicly acknowledged, the innocence of the victims affirmed and apology made, added Karwan-e-Mohabbat.

The interaction session was also attended by Prim Vaiphei president of AMCO, Sm Jalal president AMMSO, Anuwari Noorjahan president UMMWDO, Babloo Loitongbam director HRA, Renu Takhellambam president EEVFAM and other members of Karwan-e-Mohabbat.


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