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Weaving Disarmament: Arts, Crafts & Painting by People from Conflict Area

Updated on: Friday, November 25, 2011

22 November 2011: A panel discussion on the topic "Weaving Disarmament" was held on 22 November 2011 as a part of the exhibition  "Weaving  Disarmament: Arts, Crafts And Paintings By People From Conflict Area" held from 21st to 23rd  November 2011, 11 am-5pm  at Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network Delhi office: c/o Control Arms Foundation of India B5/146, First Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi - 29. The event was organized by Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and Control Arms Foundation of India. The discussion was joined by students, media persons and friends.

Retd  Lt. Gen. Dr. B S Malik, President, Control Arms Foundation of India presided over the panel discussion. Among the noted panelist include Dr Kusum Chopra, Advisor Design of FMG group of institutes, Mr Somnath Chaudhary, Technocrat and Ms Binalakshmi Nepram,  founder Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network and Secretary General, Control Arms Foundation of India (CAFI).

The discussion was regarding the relevance of disarmament for peace and development in every society. Over 20,000 people have been killed in the last five decades due to ongoing conflict in Manipur. Today more than 30 armed groups operate in Manipur - ranging from small outfits to organizations with several thousand members. Besides them, dozens of battalions of the Indian Army and several units of Indian paramilitary forces are stationed throughout Manipur. Manipur is one of the most conflict-ridden states in India. Women and children of Manipur suffer most in this conflict. Every year 300 widows are born in the state as a result of arm violence.

Dr BS Malik

He said that disarmament was very much necessary as most countries were spending huge amount in defence and weapons that was not necessarily needed. He states that in Jammu and Kashmir, armed forces had captured 39,000 AK-47 rifles and it's still unknown where those weapons were and to whom they were sold to since they all were unmarked. He added that despite the facts that India got independence in 1947 through non-violent means and India was the defacto leader in disarmament but since 1993 India hasn't signed any disarmament treaty. And he pointed that India was not leading Arms Trade Treaty. He added that the defence expenditure of the United States is 50% of the federal expenditure but still the citizens they feel insecure. He said that big guns and weapons did not necessarily ensure security.  He said, "Are weapons required? If yes, then have norms. If not, do away with them".

Ms Binalakshmi Nepram

She said that armed violence was on rise in the country and needed to check immediately. She added that women suffered most in arm conflicts as they lost their husbands, sons or any other family member which were   killed by state or non-state actors. These women were disturbed psychologically, emotionally as well as economically as they lost their sole bread earner of the family. She said that more than 300 women were widowed each year in Manipur with no livelihood or hope for earning one.

She said that influxed of illegal arms in the region is quite common. And added that weapons from 13 countries were flooded into Manipur which were used by insurgent groups in the state and the arms were readily available at inexpensive prices. She said that a landmine could cost just Rs 40! whereas a country pistol could be obtained at a mere Rs 200!

In order to stop this increasing crime she said that illegal arms trade should be immediately checked. As a process she urged the marking of every gun in this country through UID (Unique Identification Number.

She added that Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network was formed to help women gun survivors of Manipur in getting sustainable income through small entrepreneurship works like weaving, making handloom and handicraft products, farming etc and to spread peace and importance of disarmament in the society.

Dr Kusum Chopra

She encouraged the initiative taken by Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network for helping women gun survivors in pursuing making of handloom and handicraft products. She stated that the various products that were displayed for exhibition had high artistic and unique patterns of their own. She suggested Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network members to undergo vocational trainings to further nurtured their artistic talents .She suggested the women members to made curtain covers, cushion covers etc in order to increase the marketability of the products made by them

Mr Somnath Choudhary

He said that development had percolated through thin channels in Manipur and was sporadic. And added that thousands of graduates were struggling to find employment which made them an easy prey for the insurgents. Mr Chowdhury said that development was the only way to control armed conflict in  Manipur. He pointed that if there were development people would not needed guns.

The meeting was concluded with positive notes and meaningful resolutions.

The exhibition  showcases vibrant and colorful arts and crafts by women gun survivors of Manipur .The idea behind the event is to heal people from the conflict area and to showcase their talent and skills and giving hope for peace and development in this region.The exhibition includes beautiful paintings, photographs, handloom and handicraft products by Manipuri artisans and craftsman such as  Manipuri shawls, enaphi (Dupatta), mayek naiba (Manipuri wrap around) , leiroom (hand woven scarf) , Kuki Shawl etc which signify the vibrant and rich crafts and artistic skills of the region. Products made from water reeds like bags, jewellery box, show piece and decorative items will also be display at the exhibition.

CAFI friends and well wishers visited the exhibition which encourages our work .

Media Coverage

Indian women 'gun survivors' urge for disarmament

Source: OneWorld South Asia; Date: 23 Nov 2011
Link: http://southasia.oneworld.net/todaysheadlines/indian-women-gun-survivors-urge-for-disarmament/

For Further Information, Please contact:

Binalakshmi Nepram
Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network
Secretary General, Control Arms Foundation of India
B 5 / 146, First Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi - 110 029, India
Email: binalakshmi@gmail.com , Mobile : +91-9891210264  Phone: +91-11-46018541

Fax : +91-11-26166234 , Website : www.cafi-online.org  , www.neiwipblogspot.com, cafi.communique@gmail.com.

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