Making a difference
With sectarian violence killing thousands of innocent people in Manipur, India, a charity is pledging money and emotional support to the families of the victims. Archisman Dinda reports
A charity is helping the families of innocent victims of sectarian violence in Manipur, India.
One moment Rebika Akham and a small group of people were huddled in a school discussing ways of tackling the violence dogging their state – Manipur in northeastern India. The next, three loud gunshots rang out as her husband was shot dead by rebels less than 50 metres away.
“It was such a shocking moment. I still have nightmares about it,’’ says Binalakshmi Nepram, an award-winning activist who was with Rebika’s group at the time of the tragedy. “We heard the gunshots, ran towards the source of the sound and saw Rebika’s husband, Buddhi Moinranthem, lying dead.” The 27-year-old had been shot through the chest, says Binalakshmi.
He had been dragged out of his car workshop and shot at point-blank range by an underground group of rebels who wrongly believed he was working for the government against them.
“I still remember his 24-year-old widow Rebika Akham being shell-shocked to see her husband dead,’’ says Binalakshmi. “While violence was not new to our village, this was the first time I had seen it first-hand.
“The fact that Rebika became a widow almost in front of my eyes affected me