Meira Paibis of Manipur
Colonel Haorungbam Sarat Singh (Retired)
Contd from previous issue
So many innocent persons have lost lives and cases have been pending in the Courts of the State and of the country (India).
Since 1980, cases of arrest & oppression, sexual harassment, rape, unilateral murder continue to pressure the civil society in Manipur. To achieve peace, especially in form of positive peace in Manipur, the Meira Paibi movement came to provide resistance. This movement significantly applies the non-violent approach to carrying out its guidance.
The reciprocal expression of the public, after any unfortunate incident, is displayed by the Meira Paibis in a very symbolic manner through parades carrying torches, hunger strike, shouting slogans, showing placards of PEACE, extreme actions like naked protest in public platform. Meira Paibis’ struggles continue as torch parades as a sacred symbol of the peace movement are still carried out to achieve positive peace in Manipur.
One land-mark achievement of the Meira Paibis followed the arrest, torture, rape and murder of Miss Th Manorama Devi on 15th July 2004. In an unprecedented move, 12 women stripped naked and staged an angry demonstration, holding a banner “Indian Army Rape Us” outside the gate of Headquarters of the Assam Rifles. The custodial death of Miss Th Manorama Devi (32 years of age) was unbearable to the whole society. The State was in total chaos for more than a month.
On 2 November 2000, ten innocent civilians were allegedly shot and killed by the Assam Rifles ( Para-military forces of India ) at Malom, a small town in Imphal valley. Miss Irom Sharmila Chanu, a social activist started her hunger strike from that day for the removal of Armed Forces Special Power Act 1958 from Manipur. Meira Paibis fought vigorously against human rights violation. The uniformed personnel tortured innocent persons inhumanly. There were countless incidents for their ill treatments of the people of Manipur. Few shocking incidents are narrated here.
In 1997, during a routine cordon and search operation, Indian security forces raped a woman , holding her husband at knifepoint outside the room, while her seven year old son, bedridden with polio, witnessed the crime. Hundreds of Meira Paibis protested on the streets of Imphal for months together against the crime.
There were reports of acts of sexual violence, forced killings and other human rights violations committed by the Armed Forces personnel. It is suspected that more than 1528 people were eliminated in extrajudicials killings by the Indian Army in Manipur.
Meira Paibi is a women’s association and one of the largest grassroots human rights movement in Manipur. It is the watchdog of civil rights violation at the community level, initiating and engaging in campaigns against human rights violations such as arbitrary detention, cordon, and search operations, tortures committed by the Indian security personnel of the Central Government of India.
Meira Paibi suffered a lot for their gender, and they are not accorded adequate protection. They fought the battle in their own style, that is, non-violent movement.
Activities of Meira Paibis are multifold and numerous in nature. They have been performing unparalleled selfless service for helping the innocent people and for upliftment of the society since 1904, till date which is 120 years of yeomen service for mankind. During such a long period of time, Meira Paibis have suffered countless problems and solved issues at various levels.
Their ability, bravery, determination to face any unprecedented problem is well known to all of us. The activities carried out by them at any given situation and their judgement is unparalleled. Meira Paibis are still performing tremendous tasks in the present conflict situation in Manipur. They are guarding and checking the movements of unwanted list of equipments. They are working round the clock by rotation. If they were not actively involved , the situation would have exploded and been beyond control. They are trying at the best level to end the burning issue. At present Manipur is in turmoil.
Since 03 May 2023, the whole State, Manipur, is in total chaos and just like a lawless place. Curfews were imposed indefinitely. Internet services were shut down for months and cut-off from the rest of the world. People’s lives are unsafe.
More than 200 youths have been killed. Many persons are still missing. And 50,000 to 60,000 people are living at shelter homes. People are living day to day life. The armed conflict between the two communities is still going on. Nobody knows when the conflict will end.
They are unknown, unsung, unseen women’s social reformation movement of the society. They are preserving the customs, traditions and identity of our Meitei society. They are the “Guardians” and “Mothers” of our society. It is not possible to write 120 years of social selfless women social movement activities in a few pages.
For this self sacrificing social service of Meira Paibis, who have been battling for human being’s safety and security for 120 years, a recognition may be acknowledged by all of us. As such this citation is forwarded for considering the Noble Peace Prize 2024 Award.
I have requested the qualified nominators as per your nomination criteria.
There is NONE in Manipur to forward this citation to your office.
Thus, I, Colonel HAORUNGBAM SARAT SINGH (Retired) Army officer is forwarding this citation. I am a Human Rights Activist & Communist for more than 30 years or so. Guiding and shaping the discipline of the youths of Manipur.