TODAY -

Shattered by sister's gangrape, AR soldier cries for justice
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 18 2023: Currently deployed in Assam and serving the Nation, a highly decorated Assam Rifles soldier is now knocking on the doors of the Central and Manipur Governments to arrest the culprits who raped his younger sister on May 3 at Churachandpur.

His sister, a Meitei woman was gangraped by a group of Kuki men on May 3, the day ethnic violence broke out in Manipur.

He was aware that a Meitei woman was gang-raped in Churachandpur but he never knew the victim was his own and most loved younger sister until recently.

When violence broke out in Manipur, Joy (name changed) was in Assam.

He came home in Manipur on October 23 on leave.

He was still unaware of the condition his younger sister Leima (name changed) was in.

During the initial days of the violent conflict, Joy would call her on the phone and check on them.

However, Leima never told him what had happened to her.

On November 12, Leima invited his brother to a meal.

On the day, feeling hungry, Joy told Leima to serve food.

When he was waiting for the food to be served, a caretaker for Leima took the chance and told him what his younger sister had gone through on May 3 and ever since.

Leima couldn't muster the courage to tell his brother what had happened on May 3.She was afraid of how her brother would react.

So, one of the caretakers told her brother the horror she had suffered and endured.

On May 3, protesters participating in ATSUM's "Solidarity March" turned violent at Torbung and adjoining areas of Bishnupur bordering Churachandpur district.

Protesters marching hand in hand with armed men burnt do wn Meitei houses and attacked civilians.

In the evening at around 6, Meitei localities in Churachandpur were torched.

Armed and unarmed Kuki men ran amok targeting Meitei men, women, children and their properties.

At around 6.30 pm, Leima along with children and her sister-in-law were running away from a group of men who were chasing them.

Leima was carrying her 4-year-old niece on her back and running along with her two children, aged 7 and 11.As they were running, she fell on the ground.

Her sister-in-law ran back to help her.

Leima was struggling to get up, but she couldn't.She told her sister-in-law to run ahead with the children.

Soon, Leima was pinned down by a group of 5-6 Kuki men.

They then raped her taking turn.

She fell unconscious.

Meitei men later rescued her and brought her to safety.

"The news that a Meitei woman was gang-rapped was painful and heart wrenching.

Finding the victim to be my own younger sister is unimaginable...It is heartbreaking.

My blood still boils with anger and regret that I wasn't there to protect her," said Joy.

He said he regrets that he didn't know sooner.

"I was in Assam.

I read about the rape on newspapers and on Facebook.

It was a painful and disturbing news.

Now finding that the victim is actually my own younger sister, it is more painful.

I want justice for my younger sister.

I want all the culprits arrested and punished," Joy said.

Joy said his leave will end on November 20, but he will come home soon and knock on every door to get justice for her younger sister.

"As a soldier who is serving the Nation, I want the Government of India and the Manipur Government to deliver justice," Joy said.

Joy is a recipient of the Shaurya Chakra from the President.

He has also been awarded the Governor Gold Medal by Mizoram Governor.

Leima said she was unsure and afraid of how her brother would react.

"I couldn't tell him personally.

I was afraid.

I invited him for a meal to tell him the story.

I didn't want him to find out about me from other people," Leima said.

Leima also told her husband about the incident a month after it occurred.

After she told her husband about the incident, they filed a complaint with the police.

Bishnupur police registered a zero FIR on August 9 and handed the case to Churachandpur police for investigation.

The CBI has been roped in to investigate the incident along with other similar crimes against women.

So far, no one has been arrested or detained in connection with the case.

Even as the progress of the investigation is not known and justice seems bleak, Leima continues to suffer with the trauma and all that come with it.

Insecurity, fear, anxiety, stress, insomnia and depression are slowly eating away at her as she struggles to find courage and hope for justice.

Besides the mental sufferings, she is also facing many physical illnesses as a result of the sexual assault.

Leima said she still feels pain in her abdomen and is suffering from other infections.

Medication provides some relief but the pain returns when the medicine is not taken, she said.

She said she fears her physical health may deteriorate.

Leima, who has now found support in her brother said she is pained to see sadness and anger in her brother.


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