Thursday, 26 May 2011

My AFSPA story

I’ve heard many a time that almost everyone is affected by this act AFSPA. I never gave it a 2nd thought. Truth is, I’m a victim too. How can i forget that? Maybe mom n dad tried too hard to hide d bitter part of the society. Or maybe i chose to stay in my safe fairy tale cocoon. But then, i had this early morning conversation with my fren Chattu yesterday and it triggered all these thoughts.. my mind going back 16 years from now. Thought i should write about it and settle its restlessness. Here it goes.

    Let me tell u a story about this man. My uncle. Dad has a lot of brothers. But this one was our favourite. And of course dad’s too. Dad never said it, but i know. When dad defied his family and society, and became a believer, a Christian, none of his family members supported him. Till date, all my cousins, uncles, aunties both from mom and dad side are all Hindus.. except this uncle. He converted. He was the most gentle guy i knew. Never saw him angry. Never saw him laugh much either. Gentle. Unlike dad who can be extremely aggressive at times. This man, my favourite uncle, had 3 kids. and we always played together when we visited my dad’s hometown Phayeng. The family lived in a house connected to our church and they took care of it. Happy family. Contended family. Nothing could go wrong. How naive i was.

My uncle would drive an auto when he’s not doing Church work or tending his rice field. Late one night there was an emergency in the locality. A boy had an accident, hitting his chest against the electric post and was having difficulty breathing by the minute. So the family knocked at my uncle’s door. Its not like he was the only driver in the area. It’s just that he never said no to anyone and people knew he’d help..always. The date was 7th Jan,1995. If only he had refused, then he would have seen that his son grew up to be just like him, honest and helping. His daughters are doing well and one of them even dedicated her life to Jesus, studying Theology. Also after his death, our grandpa who used to be the most hilarious comedian forgot to tell his jokes. Yes. All he had to say was ‘no’ that day. He didn’t. Fate had a different story stored for him. And so, early at dawn while the world was still dark, he went to drop the sick family to town.

It was about 9am and i was still a kid of 5th grade having my winter break. Me and my sisters were playing, soaking the sun. Mom and dad weren’t home. A guy came. I peeked through the main gate without opening it. That’s what i do when i’m the eldest human in the house. He was uncomfortable. Even a kid noticed that. Of course he was. He was the messenger of dead. He only said "Your uncle has been hurt." It gave a sudden chill. Though i was too small to understand i knew it was a “bad” kind of hurt, the way he said it. And i cried.

Eventually i found out what happened. Some CRPF were on sentry duty at RMC hospital, guarding their colleagues who got hurt at a previous shoot-out. While they were visiting Sulabh’s washroom, an unknown extremist ambushed them, fired a few shots and fled. The wounded CRPF who was shot at his ass (literally, bullet grazed, obviously survived) triggered angry friends. And they were so angry that they thought, “Manipuri shot one of us, lets shoot them all”. They went in front of the hospital and lined up anyone they could this case it was the auto drivers, rickshaw pullers and a medical student from Arunachal. And they started firing. It happened so fast. No one comprehended properly what happened. And within seconds 9 men were lying dead on the ground. My uncle was among them. They were all at the wrong place at the wrong time.

 The Arunachali medical student who was studyin at RMC was walking with his Bengali fren but they pushed d other away and shot him. Y? Coz he looked like a Manipuri. My uncle after helping the sick people with the registration and other hospital formalities was sitting in his seat with a Haophi to protect himself from the cold winter morning. He was shot in the head. Small comfort knowing that he didn’t suffer for long.

AFSPA is a bitch. The accused fled and there was nothing much anyone could do about it. The victims were of poor family and they don’t know much about law & order or attorneys. Not to even think of paying for one. Even though they wanted justice so bad, with times everything subdued. Dad fought for it. He never let us know much about the dark society. And i didn’t care to ask. The case got bounced here and there. Hopes got scattered many times. But he never gave up. I remember him going places to collect signatures for petitions. I remember his fren the lawyer uncle coming to our house many times. He was a good man too. I heard he played a big part. To tell the truth, i don’t know to what extent dad and the other victim’s relatives went to seek justice. Or who all helped Dad. I don’t want to ask now and dig up old wounds either. But judging by the fact that it was the only case where the accused were finally convicted, i think they did good. Also realised that justice is the last thing those crying widows in Manipur get. No thanks to AFSPA. No thanks to insurgencies either.

But when i say justice here u might think its a happy ending. But no. It most certainly is not.! Nothing can replace life. The case was solved in 2008. After 13 years. I remember something about the victim’s family compensated for the loss, about 2lakh.. provided the kids get it after their 18th b’day .. something like that, even though other online news say differently. Four men were sentenced to life imprisonment. Hope they’re really in jail and not walking free with fines and bails, i dont know much about this legal shit. Hope they rot in hell.

The last time the armed force went on a killing spree, it killed 10 civilians and a lady called Irom Sharmila decided to go on a hunger strike. Its been 10 years now but she still lives without food. How? The bloody Govt decided to forcibly nose-feed her. A person can’t even die in peace. Also a guy burnt himself and died. But nobody remembers him now. Mothers have stripped themselves in protest, fainting on the street at the horror they’re been pull down too. Yet the Indian Govt still doesn’t listen to us. I hate the insurgents who’re d reason why this act exists. But a little revision of the act won't hurt anyone, no? At least when innocent lives are taken, there should be justice. AFSPA could be a good thing, to tell the truth. But its only used as a licence to kill. It disgust me..!!

This post is so unlike me. Firstly its too long..!! wheeww.. Secondly, I don’t usually analyse the dark society coz i belong to a certain group of Manipuri . Those dreamy eyed Manipuri who think 'see no evil and no evil will stare you back'. But here i am writing about it. Dumping the memories.. so that i can think about pretty things tomorrow.

More info about the killing  click here . My uncle’s name was Angom Debendra Singh. But we called him Uncle Tomba. I hope u’re at a happy place now Uncle.


  1. so chattu is my name.... huh..??lol... but hey... this is good....! so not you but good....!! u should shift ur profession... !! i like your blog.. Keep it up gracy..!! keep it up...

  2. dont pull my leg.. change profession it seems..!! LMAO.. but thanks :D

  3. like your blog... specially the line "dreamy eyed Manipuri who think ‘see no evil and no evil will stare you back’"... this is so perfect...!! *salute* gracy

  4. Dilkumar Singh27 May 2011 at 07:58

    Thanks for sharing your experience and personal views on the evils of AFSPA/

  5. Hey, it's a good one though it's from your personal experience. Sorry abt your uncle Tomba. May his soul rest in peace. You should heed Chattu's advice. Change your profession.. you're good at it. I tried my hands on writing blogs when one particular friend of mine suggested me to do so. I managed to create one and wrote one particular blog abt my 1st time experience in Bangalore but now I have to find it again... I don't rem'ber anything anymore.
    You and I share the same thoughts abt the law, the dark society and evn the darker Govt. Keep up the good work. I'm with you.
    And thanks to Chattu, the fake vampire... for sharing this. I had a good healthy time reading it. :)

  6. very sorry for the loss... thanks for sharing it...

  7. thanks a lot..Dilkumar,Jimson,Karanlu,Surjalata.. your appreciation means the world to me.. happy happy.. :) and yea its really sad about my uncle but its all in d past.. we've learned to move on, dont be sorry :/

  8. may he lives forever in your thoughts. RIP.

  9. yes, he will always be remembered fondly . thanks..

  10. Nice & smooth. Amateur turning pro eh? :D

  11. tom thounaojam27 May 2011 at 20:16

    I know this incident i was in KV lamphelpat, the irony is that In the Name of Law we butcher the Peace, I have never written on any post regarding lost of anyone other than in military forum. This one struck me deeply, the lost is so great that the world mean a meaningless society. Rest In Peace to the departed soul, and our Lord is looking after him.

  12. thanks Tom. that's really comforting

  13. I confess this is the first time I've been to your blog, but I really really like this particular post of yours, and hope you write things like this in the future too. I'm not from Manipur, but I have a lot of friends from there during my school and college days and have heard many tales about the hardship you face (The closest I've been to over there is on a connecting flight from Mizoram to Calcutta via Imphal), But I can totally emphasize with you and know what a bitch AFSPA is, and I hope your blog post adds more to the voices protesting about this inhuman law we call AFSPA.

  14. yea Kima, AFSPA is a hard nut to crack. since u're from Mizoram u must be knowing about it too. even though the killings happen in higher numbers only in Manipur. thanks 4 d comment. i appreciate d fact that u thought dis post can add to the grieving voice of our state

  15. Troy girl...i'm sorry for the lost. what you faced and how you come up strongly, i honestly appreciate you.
    And, Yes to Chattu's comment, why don't u shift ??? i told you b4, you must try we will help you. And plz don't worry about your background, it doesn't depend on which subject you specialize it depends on creativity and why you are dumping your talent ??? Arundhati Roy was not a literature student she was an Architecture student, and see now she is a famous writer. Anyway, after a long time i'm reading your blog and i don't want to make any nuisance...keep up doing such kind of good job. All the best.

  16. Ananta.. wow!! i need time to digest such big words..!! m speechless right now.. all i can say is a feeble Thank You.. i need a glass of water..

  17. Hmm loved reading it, i don't know much about AFSPA.. Keep sharing
    You have a wonderful blog, style doesn't matters your articles makes your blog great.. keep writing :)
    good luck !

    1. thanks a lot Dee 4 your kind words :)


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