The crew of Republic Media Network on Sunday visited some shelters being set up by the Indian Army. (Image: Republic)
Manipur is burning. The situation in the state continues to remain volatile with some stray incidents of violence still being reported from different parts of the state. But beyond violence, sharing the same roof, many have found a bond to unite. The crew of Republic Media Network on Sunday visited some shelters being set up by the Indian Army, where we found the common thread that binds all together.
Leimakhong is situated around 40 kms away from Imphal. At the entrance of the Leimakhong Military Station, there stands a board which reads, Indian Army welcomes all citizens to Leimakhong Military Station. The message is loud and clear, the last resort is the Indian Army and when they are driven by the force, Nation First.
Over the last five days, from various nearby villages of Leimakhong, the Indian Army has rescued more than 3,000 people. Over 1,000 of them has already returned to their respective homes as normalcy has returned in those villages. However, approximately 2,000 people are still taking refuge at the military station, a fear psychosis engulfs them as the situation continues to remain volatile.
While interacting with the riot-hit people living in the shelter, it was very difficult to distinguish between them according to their tribe or community. Everyone shared the same emotions, same trauma, houses were set ablaze, properties looted and now they are here, under one roof. Their only identity in the shelter is that of an Indian, hit by violence and now protected by the Indian Army.
A Kuki woman, who broke down and requested anonymity said, "My neighbour was a Meitei, whenever she cooked something good, she shared it with me, I did the same always. Our children played together, now I'm here and my child is asking if his friends too will come over here to play."
The Indian Army is not just providing shelter to the riot victims, but have also provided them with clothes, books to the children and have opened the CSD as well as the langars along with dedicated medical teams.
We also met with the wife of martyr Major Rambo who was killed in action. With an infant on her lap, she appealed all to shun violence, so that peace returns back to the state, often called the 'jewel of India'. As we write this report, Indian Army has rescued over 22000 people from different parts of Manipur.
Locals even in the remote areas are not resisting the Army. For many the Indian Army is the last resort, the last hope as the state continue to face one of worst crises in decades.