Rally, public meet decry Phaknung gang-rape

IMPHAL, 27th April: People from various communities joined a mass rally against the Phaknung gang-rape incident of April 14 on Thursday. Later, they convened a public meeting at Khunthokhanbi Shanglen, DM College campus and adopted various resolutions. The rally was organised by Core Committee Against Phaknung Gang-Rape of Two Minor Girls. The rally was taken out after people from all walks of life, including communities settling in the valley and hill areas and students of various schools converged at around 9 am at Khunthokhanbi Shanglen. The rally commenced from the Shanglen and culminated there after passing through Thangmeiband, Chingmeirong, Lamlong Keithel, Telipati, Minuthong (bridge) and North AOC headed to the starting point through the southern gate of DMC campus.

                Taking part in the protest, AMSU volunteers raised banner inscribed with the slogan "AMSU Will Always Stand Against Crime Against Women" while New Era Environmental & Development Society activists held a banner reading "We Need A Rape Free Society". AMMOCOC volunteers also raised the banner running "Punish the rapist".

               Other protesters also held placards inscribed with the words, "Punish Rapist, Not Victim", "Stop Victimising The Victims", "We Demand Special Court For Crime Against Women", "We Demand Justice", "Stop Violence Against Children", "Stop Rape, "Submit Chargesheet At The Earliest" and shouted slogans demanding punitive action against those involved in the gang-rape. After taking out the rally participated by thousands of people, a public meeting was convened at Khunthokhanbi Shanglen. Leaders of various social organisations from the hill and valley areas and student leaders addressed the gathering.

                 In his address, AMUCO president Ph Devan Sharma said many more incidents like that Phaknung gang-rape will recur if justice is not served. Similar crimes against members of fairer sex belonging to different communities cannot be ruled out, so exemplary punishment under due process of law should be given to those guilty to teach them that such actions cannot be tolerated, he said, calling upon the government to make efforts for punishing those guilty in crimes against women without any delay.

                  He also deplored that youngsters lack any sense of morality. Such incidents have occurred because they are acting as they please, so parents need to look after their children with great vigilance, he proposed, while cautioning that many untoward incidents will occur in the future if parents are not vigilant.

                  UCM vice-president Sunil Karam condemning the gang-rape incident, also stated that the Phaknung case is not unprecedented as many such incidents have occurred. He said stringest punishment to those guilty will deter others from committing such incidents in the future. For achieving right justice, families of the survivors need to have a firm stand, Sunil said, adding police should also perform their due responsibility by filing the charge-sheet at once and the government give special attention to this case.

                 At the end of the meeting, various resolutions were adopted. The resolutions include punishing the guilty under due process of law at once; Child Welfare Committee, Manipur State Commission For The Protection Of Child Rights and Manipur State Commission For Women must look into the matter until justice is served; and the government must bear all the expenses for fighting the case.

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