Torbung : The start of it all Manipulated stories
What is the way forward ? No easy answer and to the Government it could well be a case of no answer at all. A tough call it is but it is imperative for all to acknowledge the immediate cause of the clash on May 3. Many may like to go back earlier to May 3, but it is important for everyone on either side of the clash divide to acknowledge that the first spark of the clash was lit when the first match stick was struck at Torbung, a settlement located about 11 kilometres from Churachandpur town. After houses at Torbung were torched and many fled with whatever little they could gather, with children in tow, the Meiteis retaliated at Imphal and other valley districts targeting Kuki specific areas and properties. The first match stick that was struck at Torbung also soon spread to Kangpokpi and Moreh and the stories may best be told by those taking refuge at many of the relief centres set up at Imphal. Acknowledge the fact and the next step would obviously be to ignore or consign to the dustbins the false narratives carried so zealously by some media houses based in other parts of the country. That no one seems to know what exactly is going on at Churachandpur is a reality for the Imphal based media, but that has not stopped some fly by night operators to make a crash landing and sew up words not only to confuse everyone but also keep the embers of hatred burning. Other than this there have been some magnificently cooked up stories that have grabbed eye balls. One such story that went viral recently is the supposed story of a teenaged girl, who was kidnapped near an ATM booth in Checkon in Imphal at about 5.30 pm by two unidentified miscreants who supposedly came in a white Bolero and a purple coloured Swift car. This is supposed to have happened on May 15, according to the said story. Thereafter the young girl was taken towards Wangkhei Ayangpalli where a mob including men and women assembled and assaulted her physically. The story does not end here, for the young girl was then taken towards Langol hills where she was threatened to obey the command of her captors or would be killed. After assaulting her with the butt of a gun on her chest, the young girl was moved to Ngariyan Ching where she was blindfolded and had her hand tied behind and after asking her to surrender her body she was knocked out cold. Rape followed. The story does not end here for the young girl wanted to urinate and ask that her hands be freed and then rolled down the hill and landed on a roadside from where she met a kind auto rickshaw driver who dropped her at New Lambulane.
The Sangai Express also received this story on May 27, but did not carry it for it just sounded too fantastic to merit publication. The loose ends were just too many. Checkon is located in the heart of Imphal. After what happened at Imphal following the May 3 rally and the attack at Torbung and which invited a huge retaliation at Imphal, letting a young teenaged girl to proceed to an ATM to withdraw money sounds outlandish. Which parents or elders of the family would allow a young teenage girl to step out of the house on May 15 to withdraw money from the ATM ? Moreover Imphal was and is still under curfew with relatively short relaxation time and on May 15 curfew was relaxed from 5 am to 12 pm and the report said that she was picked up from near the ATM booth at about 5.30 pm !! The young girl also seems to know the geography of Imphal very well, while many Meiteis may be left wondering which road from Checkon leads to Wangkhei Ayangpalli and then being able to recollect she was taken to Langol Hills, which is another epicentre of the clash and then moved to Ngariyan Ching. The Sangai Express did not carry the story for it sounded too well rehearsed and too fantastic for a young girl to remember each and every detail. The colour of the Bolero and the Swift car in which the assailants came were vividly recalled but not the registration number of either vehicle. It is such fantastic tales that some media houses, far removed from the reality here, love to publish with relish and in the process get their by lined story some thumb ups on the social media !! The sad reality this is and in the process Manipur is being ravaged further by the pen pushers to get their time under the Sun.