Imphal, May 22: The recent outbreak of violence and riots in Manipur has left a devastating impact on the lives of women and children. Displaced from their homes and thrust into a world of fear and uncertainty, these vulnerable individuals find themselves at the mercy of merciless mobs. Their harrowing experiences shed light on the urgent need for protection, support, and peace in the region.
Abeyma, a 35-year-old mother, shares her heart-wrenching story from the Khoyol Keithel relief camp in Moirang. Nightmares of the fire that engulfed her village haunt her, as she recounts the mobs descending upon Torbung, looting and burning houses. Abeyma and her family faced brutal attacks during their journey to the safety of the camp, enduring physical violence and the terrifying separation of their children. Despite finding temporary refuge, the proximity of the camp to the Churachandpur border leaves them in a constant state of unease.
In another relief camp in Imphal, Bijaya, a resident of Terapur, narrates her frantic efforts to secure help for her daughter trapped in Yengkhomang during the riots. Despite reaching out to the authorities, the lack of response left Bijaya feeling helpless and desperate.
It was the kindness of neighbors that ultimately provided her daughter with a means of escape. As the violence escalated, Bijaya’s own home became a target, forcing them to flee. The absence of men in their household further amplified their vulnerability, as armed attackers instilled a deep sense of fear.
Abeyma’s account of not being able to bathe for eight days and her children surviving on biscuits highlights the dire conditions faced by these displaced families. Basic needs and hygiene take a backseat as the trauma and uncertainty persist. The daily struggle to find safety, sustenance, and a sense of normalcy further erodes their physical and emotional well-being.
The communities in violence-stricken districts have come together to form armed vigils, composed of volunteers and civilians, to safeguard their villages. However, the constant fear of further attacks weighs heavily on the minds of those seeking refuge in relief camps. Immediate action is needed to provide adequate security measures and support for these vulnerable populations.
The stories of Abeyma, Bijaya, and countless others underscore the tragic consequences of riots on women and children in Manipur. It is imperative that authorities prioritize their safety and well-being, ensuring swift assistance, essential supplies, and emotional support. Restoring peace and stability in the region is crucial to healing the wounds inflicted upon these communities and offering a glimmer of hope for a brighter future.