IMPHAL, March 29: After building up a strong viral campaign through a social networking site seeking justice for Loitam Richard, the Justice for Loitam Richard today staged a chain of demonstrations across the country.
The demonstrations were reportedly well attended with people cutting across culture, community and states seen participating in most of them.
Major demonstrations were held at India Gate and Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Gwalior among other places.
An event was also held at Richard’s hometown here in Imphal at his Uripok Yambem Leikai locality today.
Richard, a 19 year old Manipuri student was found dead in his hostel room at Acharaya NRV School, Bangalore on April 18.
His death has been shrouded in controversy with police describing the death as a result of a minor accident he had met with on April 16, while some indicated that he got into a brawl with his seniors over a remote control while watching an Indian Premiere League (IPL) match and they assaulted him that led to his death.
There were also media reports that he died of drug overdose.
The event held at Uripok was attended by family members, media persons, activist, meira paibis and friends of L Richard among others.
L Bidyabali, mother of Richard thanked the volunteers who are spearheading the movement demanding that the killers of his son be booked.
She said that the whole family had rested their full aspirations upon Richard. Parents send their wards outside the state for further studies but with a hope that they will be return back home safe and sound. However her family has not been fortunate enough to see their son return.
“I pray that my son’s death be an example so that such similar fate do not recur and spare other parents from such fate”, she said.
She clarified that her son was academically sound and had no bad habits of drug abuse as charged by various media reports.
Photographs of Richard were exhibited at the tribute site and protest notes written by the attendees were also collected.
The notes is part of a signature campaign will further be sent to NRV school authorities to highlight the issue here.
Meanwhile, popular Naga folk singer Guru Rewben Masangvha and Fringes music band also paid tribute to Richard’s memory at the site by serenading ‘songs of protest’.
Former classmates of the deceased also spoke expressing their views and experience shared with Richard during the observation.
The event ended with a candle lit vigil at the spot.
The candle lit event was also attended by elected MLA RK Imo of Sagolband.
Manipur Cycle Club members also thronged the spot to take part in the candlelight vigil after their critical mass held today.
The protestors as well as Richard`s family, based in Imphal, are primarily demanding for his death to be turned into a case of homicide.
Currently, the First Information Report (FIR) has been filed under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code which essentially means that Richard inflicted the injuries himself, something that his friends have objected to.
Meanwhile, a social media campaign in facebook titled “Justice for Richard” has registered more than 1,23,202 members at the time of filing this report and the group has been spearheading the movement.
It may be said that this is the first time that such an incident concerning a North Easterner has been propagated en masse nationwide and justice sought.
Meanwhile reports say that the two students who are connected with the incident have also absconded and are presently at Bangkok.
The Kumaun University manipuri Student Association, KUMSA also organized a peace rally at Nainital this evening against the alleged murder of Loitam Richard.