On 22 January 2015 after standing up to intimidation from senior counsel Khaidem Mani HH Mr Justice Wisdom Kamodang refused to play along with his demands to assist in the extra-judicial execution of Irom Sharmila Chanu. For now people are mourning the senseless killing of Sapam Robin Hood a sixteen year old schoolboy cynically sent to his death by those who call themselves Civil Society Organizations murdered by uniformed drug addicted sadists who paid the bribe to join the Manipur Police.
Within five days of that murder the MRVTMW Bill which the Manipur Legilsative Assembly had passed in response to previous bandhs and blockades was withdrawn with the promise of a more suitable act being passed in the Manipur Legislative Assembly soon. It has been fifteen years since Sharmila began her fast for the repeal of the AFSPA. These so called civil society organizations no longer feel that giving immunity from prosecution for all crimes including rape, gang rape and murder is a concern for them. So long as they can protect Manipuri culture from foreign influences it seems they have no objection to security forces raping or killing their own children.
I have no idea what this magistrate has been told to do. But the media have been disinvited to report on Irom Sharmila. Those NGOs which claim to represent her, HRA, JPF, SAKAL are nowhere to be seen. I have no idea what excuse they are offering nobody dares question them. They might say they are prevented by the curfews. But there were no curfews at the two previous trial dates. Perhaps the reason is having stolen over six million from the unaudited accounts of Sharmila’s prize funds they think they can get more from her dead now as she refuses to collect any more prizes. She remains steadfast in her satyagraha for the repeal of the AFSPA and the return of the rule of law. They like most manipuris are interested only in turning over a fast buck.
The Founder and Commander of many of these NGOs around Sharmila Mr Babloo Loitongbam like many others in his youth was offered the chance to marry his cousin and receive the support of their corrupt police Uncle-ji or make it out on his own. He chose to marry his cousin. In 2004 using Sharmila’s name and her brother Irom Singhajit Singh a deal was brokered with the new CM Ibobi Singh to remove the AFSPA from Imphal City. In 2005 the vacuum left by the Assam Rifles was replaced by Joykumar Singh the corrupt Police Uncle-ji and his notorious Imphal Police Commandoes.
During the recent PIL at India’s Supreme Court although it was Manipur Police and not the Indian Army who were held responsible for most of the 1500 extrajudicial executions. The AFSPA has become so toxic the Manipur Police do not need its legal protection to rape beat or kill at will.
Irom Sharmila is no longer useful to these violent men. The Meira Paibee tradition has been too easily corrupted. Scribes used to tell me in private the going rate to have a paibee throw a hand grenade for you. These days though they boast of the best up to date Military grade explosives.
Everyone has a price in Manipur and the woman who cannot be bought has the highest price of all.
Watching a trial is not like the cinema version. It might be compared to a fighter pilot going on a mission. Several hours of boredom followed by several minutes of sheer hell. So for several hours there will be examination of witnesses and discussion of precedents. Then when the Judge rises the punishment beatings begin. There are side rooms in Uripok Cheirap court where the police regularly take people to be beaten. This is very Indian. The difference in Manipur is the beatings continue outside the room, inside the courtroom, in front of the judge in front of gawking press who will film everything and report nothing.
When the IB report named Manipuri NGOs as working as foreign spies for foreign governments the first thing Mr Loitongbam did was to name his colleagues a minor associate Onil Kshetrimayum and boast of the fact as if the IB were giving him a reference. The first time he organized a Manipuri police rousting for me was in March 2011, it started with 3 IB officers threatening to beat me unconscious and ended with a officer sent from his Uncle’s personal Jeep to roust the Imphal Classic Hotel where I had been staying. On that occasion the Calcutta Telegraph was burnt and banned for several weeks even though they did not mention him by name merely for reporting what happened.
But everyone has been threatened by him most recently NDTV and CNN IBN when they reported Sharmila’s own muted words on how she is being treated. I do not know whether Mr Babloo Loitongbam intends to follow through on his plan to manufacture the death of Irom Sharmila. With his stooges in Amnesty International India he has managed to swtich the public perception of Sharmila’s campaign away from repeal of AFSPA to a campaign to remove Section 309 from the IPC and grant hunger strikers the right to die in obscurity without achieving their goals. If he isn’t being paid by the Indian Intelligence Bureau they are getting their best work done for free by him.
Her next trial date is 17 July 2015 at Uripok Cheirap Court. No one is interested. Her last appearance at the Delhi Patiala Court is on 11 & 12 August 2015. Mr Loitongbam has made sure that will be concluded quietly and quickly with no defence being offered. The only thing I can to is come to support Sharmila in Imphal once the Delhi trial is ended.
Manipuri thugs are exceptionally petty and sadistic. Those who are interested can read of some of the torture methods these coked up goondas are meting out to schoolchildren. Often they rely on the humiliation preventing publication of what they are doing. That and the fact Indians need to be convinced that what happens in Manipur is somehow newsworthy to them. But I have taken the worst these cowards will dare offer to a foreign national. The Meitei may feel they are being overcome by foreign influences but they still bow to their former masters. My British passport means they overlook the darker colour of my skin. These IB funded cowards dare not kill a foreigner. Unfortunately Irom Sharmila is a Manipuri woman with no protector. Nor would she demand schoolchildren come to her side. Let this piece in the Times of Assam suffice then. You will not hear the truth about what is going on at her trials anywhere else.
Desmond Coutinho is UK based Human Rights Activist.
He is also official spoke person of Irom Sharmila. Irom Sharmila have given him power of attorney to speak & write on behalf of her on Media or any other platform.
Supporting Irom Sharmila, Desmond was arrested & jailed by Intelligence Bureau(IB) of India several times.
Desmond doesn’t hold any Social profiles. But anyone can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.