Families of violence related crimes seek justice, demand answers

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IMPHAL, April 27: Eight families of women who  died following their alleged rape came together at a press conference at the Manipur Press Club today to highlight the painful journeys that they have taken in the fight for justice.

At the outset, Sobita Mangsatabam, general secretary of Women Action for Development, a grass roots organization working to ensuring equity for women and their rights said that the experience of each family was clear proof of the manner in which needless delays were taking place in the police and legal system of the state.

“There are increasing cases of violence and brutal crimes against women taking place in the state with many resulting in the death of women and minor girl children. Many have faced untold difficulties while proceeding on the path of ensuring justice. The sharing of what these families have gone through needs to be given attention and more so, with the visit of the the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences to Manipur.”

The family members highlighted the progress of police cases with no charge sheet being filed with one case dating to 2011 not even having an FIR being entertained or accepted. The cases shared by family members included cases of rape and brutal murder and one instance of death of a women by mob lynching.

According to P Kepten Singh, a relative of a 15 year old girl found hanged in September 2011 said that his cousin had been called out by the accused  Salam Dipin (25) on the pretext of eloping. “Till date, the post-mortem report has not been handed over by the police and we had to run from pillar to post till we sought the help of the court. At every stage, our efforts were looked with contempt by the police who took every opportunity to discourage us. There is no charge sheet on the case yet,” he said while making the point that the Manipur police is answerable to all the families on their lack of interest and support in pursuing and ensuring justice.

In a case of a similar nature, another relative shared how his neice was killed by her own boyfriend by cutting her throat with a knife after making her 7 months pregnant. He said that the Charge-sheet of the case that happened at Lamkang Khunthak in Chandel district has not been filed till today on the grounds that forensic tests were yet to bring in results but that samples had been sent to Kolkatta. “There is a need to ensure that Manipur has a well equipped forensic lab where all related tests can be done. Without it, the police will always have the excuse that they cannot proceed with their investigations,” he said.

Ningombam Tomba, the gather of N Seoyabhama appealed to file a charge-sheet against the culprits involved in his daughter`s case and expressed his desire to have a joint platform for the families of victims of women who have been killed in crimes. He further said that though he found strength realizing that there are other people in the same situation as he is facing himself in, “it is very sad that there are so many of us who are undergoing the added sense of loss, helplessness and depair over losing our beloved daughters and not able to get justice.”

The mother of another woman who had been killed in an act of mob action at Sora meanwhile  said that she was not only battling the slow process of police investigation but also coping with the difficulties of bringing up her three grand children without their parents.

The family reiterated that each case of crime must be accounted and made transparent by the police.

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