In the early hours of 11th July 2004, the bullet riddled body of 32- year old Thangjam Manorama Devi was found in Laipharok Maring of Imphal East district of Manipur. She had been picked up by the paramilitary Assam Rifles from her home in Bamon Kampu Mayai Leikai and was raped and killed.
Soldiers raided her home around midnight, asking the family to wait outside while they questioned her. They signed an “arrest memo”, an official acknowledgement of detention, put in place to prevent “disappearances”, and took her away. Later that day her semi clad body was found in a nearby village. She had been fired with several bullets. There were gunshot wounds to the genitals and semen on her skirt suggesting she was raped before being tortured and killed. Mass protests in Manipur broke out as people demanded an immediate investigation and prosecution of the guilty.
Collective anger and shock over Manorama’s rape and murder gripped the world only as media reports poured in of the most spectacular and militant protest of our times.
On July 15, women from the Meira Paibi stripped themselves naked outside the 17 th Assam Rifles headquarters holding up the banner “ Indian Army Rape Us ”! Known as the Mother’s Front, Meira Paibi had started as a support group for women family members of the disappeared and arrested, but had eventually also become involved in fighting against human rights abuses. They had soon joined the campaign to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act more popularly known as the AFSPA.The case pertaining to the rape and murder of Manorama is pending before the Supreme Court. The army and central government have gone all the way to the Supreme Court to dodge prosecution, even though a judicial enquiry appointed by the state of Manipur has found the army personnel guilty. Meanwhile the people of Manipur still await justice even after 12 years.
Repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958
Stop War on People.