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2010: A year Of Panic And Alarm For Women In North-East India

2010: A year Of Panic And Alarm For Women In North-East India

The world is welcoming the year 2011, but the women of North-east India are just not able to do the same. How can they, when they face brutal rapes and murders daily? They remember 2010 with nothing but panic and alarm. The several instances of brutalities against women reported are not only alarming but also signify that the safety of women is turning from bad to worse and to worst. No state in the north-east has come out unmarred by serious incidents of violence against women. So, is 2011 offering them anything different or at least a vague idea of safety and security?

2010 was indeed a terrifying year for the women in Churachandpur in Manipur. Within a span of two months, several incidents took place where women were sexually assaulted and then brutally murdered. On November 25, 2010, a lady cashier working in the DRDA of Churachandpur was brutally murdered. In another instance, an unidentified woman was found dead, with the cloth-less dead body bruised all over (including private parts), hidden under hay in a paddy field near Yaiphakol village. She was found to have been murdered at a time between December 11 and the night of December 12. For several days, the dead body lay unclaimed in the RIMS Hospital morgue. The Churachandpur Joint Action Women Organization, an apex women’s rights body in Churachandpur, had requested the SP not to dispose of the dead body till the culprit was caught. The members of this women’s group even guarded the morgue in order to prevent the officials from disposing off the dead body. It is learnt that the dead body was later secretly disposed. The Churachandpur Joint Women Organization, Churachandpur District Students’ Union (CDSU), Joint Philanthropic Organization, Churachandpur, and church leaders submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi urging the state government to find out the culprits and punish them according to the law. Later three men were arrested on charges of this murder. The three men were drunk and gang-raped her before taking her life to cover up their crime. Reports said that cadres of the underground group Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), on December 22, caught the three alleged rapists namely, Ibomcha (28) s/o Jiten, Ch Inao alias Golao (38) s/o Ch Ibocha and W Tomba s/o Angou, all from Yaiphakol. They men were later handed over to Churachandpur Police Station on the same day. On knowing this, the angry villagers torched the houses of two of the suspects, Ibomcha and Ch Inao. The identity of the woman was confirmed on December 18 as Hatcholing (56), wife of Senjamang of Takvom village. Mary Beth, a women’s rights activist from Churachandpur commented that the case was worse than that of Manorama that took place in 2004.

It is relevant to quote here that on January 2, 2011, the Sangai Express; a prominent news paper of Manipur reported a disturbing statistics on the cases of violence against women in the state of Manipur alone. It reported that 10 cases of rape and 11 cases of murder took place in Manipur in the year 2010. Moreover, four women were raped and murdered in the most brutal manner. In addition, there were 12 cases of suicide by women and 25 women disappeared under controversial circumstances. Seven other women sustained injuries due to physical assault. There were two cases of molestations and one case of immolation while seven women complained to get justice. All these data are based on the news reports published in local newspapers. Two most shocking incidents of crime against women recorded this year were the murder of Chanbi and her daughter Meneka at Phayeng in January and Hatkholing at Churachandpur in December. Chanbi and Meneka were called from their home on January 12 and their lifeless bodies were found on January 23, 2010, the Sangai Express reported.

In Nagaland too, a brutal incident of violence was reported. In Pfutsero, a couple was attacked by four persons ‘“ three men and a woman ‘“, which resulted in brutal injuries to the woman who later succumbed to death. The couple was severely beaten up with firewood logs. It is reported that the husband was in a critical situation. The Phek Mothers Association and the Chakhesang Mothers Association held a protest rally on 14th December, 2010 and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits and punitive action against them as per law. Rosemary Dzuvichu, adviser of Naga Mothers Association (NMA), informed that the NMA had sought the Government’s immediate attention and intervention for the security of women and children in the state and for bringing all the guilty to book.

In Mizoram, on December 4, 2010, a man killed his wife with gelatin while she was asleep in her son’s home in Aizawl. 52-year old H Ngunchhuna of the Kanan locality decided to bomb when his wife 45-year-old Lenpari, turned a deaf ear to his plea to come back home as she was staying with her son for weeks following an argument with the latter. The man broke into their son’s home around 1:00 am and blasted a stick of gelatin right beside his wife’s pillow. Lenpari was married to Ngunchhuna for 25 years and faced domestic violence.

A newly- married Muslim woman was brutally murdered in Garogaon, Guwahati, on November 26, 2010 as she failed to meet the dowry demands of her in-laws. The woman was strangled to death allegedly by her mother-in-law and her younger brother-in-law. Later her dead body was found hanging from the roof of the house. The angry villagers, on knowing the incident, burnt down the house and the woman was buried right at the doorstep of the house where she was killed.

In Silchar, Assam, a 19 year old Mizo girl was gang-raped by a group of Class X and XII students. It is reported that the girl was in the city in search of accommodation and a job. She ended up landing at the house of an alleged trafficker who later handed her over to the boys. The woman, Malsawmtluangi, 32, the alleged trafficker, was later arrested by police. The incident, which took place in the evening of December 2, 2010, came to light only after four days when the liaison officer of Silchar Mizoram House lodged a complaint. The accused rapists were all students of lass X and XII of reputed schools and college. Media reported that three of them were sons of police officers, one of whom was the personal security officer of a deputy commissioner and an MLA. The eight arrested, including the woman, have been sent to judicial custody. The victim was handed over to Mizoram police after medical tests. Media reported that those arrested have been identified as Subhadeep Dutta (20), Shankar Dayal Sharma (19), Jalil Laskar (19), Biswajit Rakshit (19), Paplu Das (19), Biju Nayek (19) and Vishal Barman (19).

It is a fact that conviction rate is very low in cases of sexual assault on women. The lone ray of hope amidst the many cases of violence against women in the north-east came from the Lunglei District and Sessions Court, Mizoram. On December 8, Judge Vanlalmawia of the court sentenced L Laikhaw, 49, of Serkawr village to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 for killing his wife on October 29, 2005. The case was earlier tried at the Saiha court for a long time. When it was transferred to the Lunglei District & Sessions Court, the judge found concrete evidence and awarded the sentence 5 years after the crime was committed.

In another incident in Mizoram, rape-accused Lalmuankima, who has been absconding since 2006, was arrested by Kolasib police on December 9, 2010. The accused who hailed from Myanmar was sent to Aizawl where the rape case was registered.

*The article is written by Anjuman Ara Begum

*You can read the original article here



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