Gender and Armed Conflict in Manipur
Updated on: Monday, March 12, 2012
Date: 5th March 2012 Venue: The Classic Hotel, Imphal, Manipur
Over 20,000 people have been killed in the last five decades 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 the state at the Indo-Burma-border. Manipur is one of the most conflict-ridden states in India. Women and children of Manipur suffer most in this conflict, even when they are not targeted directly. They are traumatized by the deaths of family members. They bear the brunt of the emotional and socio-economic impacts of violence. Apart from that, women themselves are particularly vulnerable to violence and intimidation at gunpoint, often used as a deliberate military and political tactic. Also women and girls continue to be tortured, raped and killed at gunpoint. To address the impact of the ongoing conflict Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network organized a Community Consultation on the topic "Gender and Armed Conflict in Manipur" on 5th March 2012 from 10am to 1 pm at the Classic Hotel, Imphal, Manipur.
Esteemed panelists of the event included Dr Axel Harneit-Sievers, Director, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Mr Yambem Laba, Former Member, Human Right Commission, Manipur, Ms Rose Mangsi, President, Kuki Women Organisation, Manipur, Ms Lourembam Nganbi, President, Apunba Nupi Lup (ANUL), Vice President Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (AMKIL), Secretary, External Affairs, United Committee Manipur, Mr.Warekpam Basanta Kumar, Human Rights Alert, Manipur, Mr. Jogendrajit Thockchom, Jounalist, Poknapham one of the leading News Paper in Manipur, Ms Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Warekpam Basanta Kumar, Human Rights Alert, Manipur gave an overview of origin and impact of armed conflict in Manipur. He stated that state should be accountable for the killings happening at the state. He stated that women were more vulnerable to rape, physical and mental torture. He also addressed the different aspects of difficulties found by the women in standing up their own rights.
Ms Rose Mangsi, President, Kuki Women Organisation, Manipur shared about women victims due to conflict in hill districts of Manipur and the exploitations faced by them. She also addressed the adverse psychological and physical effect of communal conflict such as the Naga Kuki conflict in hill districts to women and children. She said that she is working very hard with various mothers of Manipur to help such women and bring a better change to reduce conflict in the society.
Mr Jogendrajit Thockchom, Jounalist, Poknapham one of the leading News Paper in Manipur shared his experience of visiting hill districts of Manipur recently. He said that women in hill districts of Manipur live in fear due to the inhuman nature and activities of army as well as communal conflict. He shared his views to improve the situation faced by them. He suggested that giving empowerment of women, organising outreach programs etc would help them to have better awareness to protect them from such fear.
Mr Yambem Laba, Former Member, Human Right Commission addressed the violation of human rights in the state and stated that it needs to be checked. He also addressed the issued faced by people of Manipur regarding Arms Forces Special Powers Act, 1958. He gave his deep concerned that Armeds Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 should be removed from the state from the violation of human rights aspect.
Ms Lourembam Nganbi, President, Apunba Nupi Lup (ANUL), Vice President Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (AMKIL), Secretary, External Affairs, United Committee Manipur addressed strong condemned regarding the gun culture of Manipur. She said that the gun culture had badly affected the state as well as given bad impact to the children by playing with toy guns. She strongly felt that something needs to be done about if. If women of Manipur from all communities work together this culture could be removed from the society.
Dr Axel Harneit-Sievers, Director, Heinrich Böll Stiftung addressed that Northeast issues were becoming more visible and interesting nowadays. He said that the historic handover of "Kangla" to the people of Manipur showed that Indian Government was also started showing more importance to Northeast state and their issues. He also suggest that organising more meetings, collection of testimonies of women gun survivors as well as collecting and reporting documents regarding the issues faced by such area would be able to reduce and removed the conflict and issues faced by Northeast India.
Ms Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network shared the issues faced by women in Northeast India particularly Manipur. She addressed that every year 400 widows were born in the state and the harmful impacts faced by them. And further added that it was very important to discuss issues related to gender and arms conflict often and addressed properly to the concerned authorities and called upon working on implementing United Nations Security Council, 1935 in Manipur.
The meeting was attended by several women gun survivors of Manipur where they presented their testimonies. Several women activists, media also participated the event. At the end of the meeting there was formation of Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network (MWGSN) Health Team to focus on health of women survivors. MWGSN will work with a team of doctors in Manipur to provide free health check up to women survivors. It may be noted that in September 2011, a women's legal team of MWGSN has already been formed.
For the past three years, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network has been organising a number of Conferences, Panel Discussions and Consultative Conclave meetings across Northeast India and New Delhi. Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network also formed North East India Women Initiative for peace to pursue our work in bringing peace in the area. Please log on to www.neiwip.blogspot.com for further information.
For more information, interviews etc. please contact:
Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network
Sagolband Nepra Menjor Leikai, Imphal- 795001, Manipur
Mobile: 9774357042/ 9891210264 Email: Binalakshmi@gmail.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: www.cafi-online.org/ http://neiwip.blogspot.com/