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Manipur: Reign of State Terrorism

(Statement of a Mother)

A translated statement from Khumgbongmayum Lata, whose teenage son, Khumgbongmayum Orsonjit, was killed in a fake encounter

August 2013, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
Text courtesy: Malem Ningthouja


For a 60-year-old woman from Manipur, like me, to come to Delhi and face the media personnel is a big thing. But I wonder whether this opportunity is fortunate or not. I wish I would wake up one day and find my son alive and I wish I am not standing here today. But my destiny—I cannot run away from the reality.

As I stand here, my heart is filled with mixed emotions. Perhaps, it is a victorious moment for me because my son will be getting justice, years after he passed away but then, it reminds me that he will never come back. Even this moment of victory cannot fill the vacuum which his absence has left in my heart.

My sweet youngest son, a brilliant student, started his primary education from one of the top high schools in Manipur—St. Joseph's School. After 5th standard he continued his studies in Meghalaya. Again, he came back and continued from 8th standard in Manipur at 4th Assam Rifles High School where I was employed. But due to the change of syllabus he failed in mathematics.

Being a mother, I always encouraged and advised him, telling him that "failures are the pillars of success”. There was a year's gap for the next term examination and I think it might have affected him. So to keep him occupied, he did work part-time as fuel assistant for one of his uncle’s Tata Indicom cellphone towers. To me, it was like punishing him, as he did not get any time for leisure activities. Now I regret being harsh on him as he did not even enjoy his few teenage years towards the end of his life.

My son was only 19 years—I will never forget that day in my life. On 16 March 2010, Manipur celebrated its new year, the Meitei Cheiraoba. On that day, I had went to Jiribam for an official duty around 10am and reached there around 7 in the evening. I got many calls from home to come home soon. Next day I was back home after taking permission from my office.

After I came to know about my son's death, I was unconscious for two days. On the third day I went to see my son, whose lifeless body was then kept at the morgue in the Regional Institute of Medical Science (RIMS). There I drew out the drawer of the cold storage of the morgue where my child was sleeping. He was very cold as I picked him up, kissed him and asked him where his injuries are.

I got no answer.

With my mobile phone camera I took pictures of his injuries. Both his arms were smashed by heavy object. There were 13 bullet holes in his body.

Why? Why did they do like that? Nobody answered. I realised that it was no counter firing but torture and murder in cold blood.

In Manipur, the police commandos used a man as their shooting and practicing target. Is it the nature of a human being? Mr. Premkumar, a sub inspector (SI) of Imphal West police commando is responsible for my son’s murder. He is not a man but a devil in disguise. He is in uniform but do not obey nor regard the constitution of this country and has no consideration for other people's fundamental rights or whatsoever.

This is in short, the story of how my son was murdered in his teens.

Today, we are all here with the help of EPHAM and Human Rights Alerts and have approached the Supreme Court of India. A commission consisting of three members was sent to Imphal, Manipur for enquiry. Before the commission, when SI Premkumar opened his affidavit, I wanted to ask him why he tortured my child. The post-mortem surgeon also explained that even if only one bullet of an AK47 rifle, nobody can survive more than a second.

Is this human nature?

As parents grow old, they rely on their children to spend their old age comfortably under their care. But in my case it is going to be different.

There is an inner voice from the victim families to fight for justice. I hope that the Supreme Court of India will bring justice before my death.

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A statement from Kh. Lata
Mother of Khumgbongmayum Orsonjit
Keishampat Jailor Leirak,
Imphal West, Manipur

PS: Recently, a collaboration of human rights groups, lawyers and civil bodies organised Out of Focus: In the shadow of AFSPA — Solidarity with victims of AFSPA. It was held on 3 August 2013 at the Indian Social Institute in New Delhi.

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Read a related story on Tehalka   Murder in Plain Sight

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             Forgive me, for all your dreams
of peace and rest during your remnant days
I only turned out to be a small man,
with small dreams and leading a small life.

--Robin Ngangom, A Poem for Mother 

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