The tears that roll down Pebam Sarojini’s cheeks or the anger that we find in the words of poet and singer Akhu Chinga are testimony to the travails of a remote North-East Indian state called Manipur that lingers for democracy and suffers under the shadow of the barrel.
The state that became a part of India in 1949 has always been a part of the democratic process as polling statistics would reflect but it never got to taste what real democracy means.
Virtually under army rule due to the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act for decades together, Manipur has witnessed bloodied streets, naked protests, self-immolation and militancy which now numbers to 40 groups.
Tha Manipuris now almost accept the massive army presence as routine. Even Irom Sharmila’s fast, since the last 11 years, has failed to budge the authorities.
Pebam Sarojini’s son Chittaranjan died after self-immolation in 2004 protesting against the AFSPA.
The hill-districts are not in peace either. The Nagas claim the hill districts—Senapati and Sadar—as theirs and this added more heartache to the Manipuris who want the territorial integrity of their state to be maintained.
The Congress has managed to keep the state to itself for long but no one can deny that a simple beep every five years does not ensure democracy. It needs more.
Watch more in this CNN-IBN video below: