Mayopam Ramror and Ramkashing Vashi were part of the crowd which had gathered near TNL Ground, waiting for the arrival of other groups to converge. They were shot by state security forces in a passing armoured car reportedly from a close range and they both succumbed to their injuries at the spot. Till today, no one knows who fired the fatal shots that killed them.
By Tennoson Pheirei, TFM Ukhrul Correspondent
Till today, no one knows who fired the fatal shots that killed Mayopam Ramror and Ramkashing Vashi on 30 August 2014. The rallyists who were standing along with the two deceased reported that the gun was shot from the b-hole of the passing armoured vehicle.
Rosedinah Ramror, wife of late Mayopam Ramror, in her speech during the funeral programme of her husband held at TNL Ground, Ukhrul on 1 September 2014 lamented that “Though my beloved husband life has been cut short by Manipur state security forces, I beg Naga people not to forsake me and the baby I am carrying in my womb. The lost of a lover and a husband is something I can’t imagine and bear. However, I will take solace and comfort knowing he sacrificed and gave up his life for the greater cause. My heart is heavy.”
At that time, Rosedinah wife of Mayopam was only 26 years old and Chanreiwon wife of Ramkashing was only 24 years old and both were pregnant at that time and they gave birth to a baby boy and baby girl respectively in the following months.
On August 30, 2014, the United Naga Council (UNC) had called for a public rally in Ukhrul demanding expedition of the settlement of the Indo-Naga issue; respect for the Indo-Naga ceasefire agreement; to honour the democratic dialogue on alternative arrangement between the Government of Manipur (GoM) and UNC; to stop militarization, and to respect land rights of the Nagas amongst others.
The rally was opposed by the GoM on the grounds that it would endanger public peace; and a huge contingent of police forces and commandos from other districts (Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishnupur) were also dispatched to Ukhrul town.
The rally had started from two main landmarks of Ukhrul Town -Kharasom Junction and Dungrei Junction, and converged at the Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) Ground. As the group from Kharasom Junction marched towards TNL Ground, police forces allegedly opened fire at Mission Ground, Alungtang injuring many. The police actions soon spread to other parts of Ukhrul Town with teargases, mock bombs and live bullets fired indiscriminately.
Mayopam Ramror and Ramkashing Vashi were part of the crowd which had gathered near TNL Ground, waiting for the arrival of other groups to converge. They were shot by state security forces in a passing armoured car reportedly from a close range and they both succumbed to their injuries at the spot. Till today, no one knows who fired the fatal shots that killed them. Rallyist who were standing along with the two deceased report that the gun was shot from the b-hole of the passing armor vehicle.
Due to indiscriminate firing by the Commandos and IRB two people were killed and 34 were critically injured. M. Ngachonmi S/o M. David of Somdal Village was referred to Imphal for treatment. Ramchanngam Horam S/o Helpson Horam of Kharasom Village received bullet injury on the right leg, Ningkhan Luikham S/o David Luikham of Kongkan Village was hit by tear gas on the left hand, Khanreingam LK S/o Yangmi LK of Leiting Village recieved bullet injury on the right hand, Shangkahao Keishing S/o (L) Thomas Keishing of Thoyee Village received tear gas injury on the left knee and a tear gas exploded on the face of Ningshim L.S. of Hunphun.
Besides, SK. Raingam of Kachai, L. Somiwon of Shirui, Chanreiwon of Teinem and AS. Pamshang of Hunphun recieved minor injuries. After maximum damage was done, the then Ibobi led Government withdraw the IRBs & Commandos from Ukhrul Headquarter.
The post mortems of Mayopam Ramror and Ramkashing Vashi were held at District Hospital (now old district hospital). The post mortem started at 02:30pm and was completed at 05:30pm. The post mortem was conducted on August 31, 2014 by two forensic specialists who came from Imphal and was accompanied by two doctors from Ukhrul Hospital. The whole process was captured in video camera. However, a request for a third party to take the footage was not allowed.
As per the post mortem reports, a 9mm bullet was found inside the body of Ramkashing Vashi. In the case of Mayopam Ramror, the bullet entered from the left side of his back and passed through the right side of the neck. This post mortem only re-confirmed that they died from bullet injury and not from tear gas injury as reported by certain media.
The Nagas under UNC on September 1, 2014 while condemning in the strongest term, the killings and violence of the Government of Manipur perpetrated on the Nagas in Manipur on August 30, 2014 at Ukhrul declared that “Late Mayopam Ramror and Late Ramkashing Vashi of Teinem Village are hereby declared martyrs of the Naga cause and will be honored as such for all time to come.”
It also took a decision for “political boycott of the Government of Manipur in Naga areas including an indefinite ban on all construction work on national projects in Naga areas and ban on all vehicular traffic along National and State Highways in Naga areas to will enforced till such time the Government of India makes a political intervention on our situation with effect from 06:00am of September 4, 2014.”
An appeal letter, addressed to Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi by 12507 citizens of Ukhrul as signatories was also submitted on September 8, 2014. The mass signatures campaign called for urgent attention to the issue to prevent the escalation of violence and to bring back normalcy, centrally-constituted judicial investigation into the incident and also the preceding events and immediate withdrawal of the Manipur Police Commando (MPC) and Indian Reserved Battalion (IRB) from in and around Ukhrul District, Manipur. The following day, IRBs and Commandos stationed at various places of Ukhrul District were withdrawn.
Today, Rosedinah who is 35 years now is still looking for answers. Speaking to this correspondent, Rosedinah narrated what had happened in 2014 that “it has been 9 years and I will never know who pulled the trigger and killed my husband. I want to know everything that happened on that day. I was pregnant that time and was at home when the incident happened. Family and friends informed me that he was shot in the arms. I desperately tried calling his number. After trying for many times, my elder brother picked up the phone and told me to be calm, he was being given treatment at the hospital and would be back in the evening.”
“In the evening, relatives and friends started pouring in to our house. Sensing fear that something drastic might have happened, I enquired one of my relatives to tell me what actaully had happened to my husband. She did not say anything, but, I realised something worst had happened because I noticed tears trickling down from her eyes when she turned away from me. It was only late in the evening that they broke me the actual news that he was no more”.
“Our son Ngahanngai Ramror is going to be 9 years soon. He wishes he has someone to call Āvā (father). Sometimes, while coming back home after playing with his friends, he would suddenly ask where was his father? I tried to explain but no words came out. Only tears. It is very painful to explain to my son. I have shown him the grave at TNL Ground, where he was buried along with his friend Ramkashing Vashi. I am yet to explain how he died. When he grows older, I will surely tell the story. For now I can only meet his queries with silence and tears”.
Rosedinah Ramror is a single mom who would drop her son in the morning and pick her son after the school who is now studying in class III and rush home for the chore at home.
The pain and suffering still persist narrated Chanreiwon Vashi, wife of late Ramkashing Vashi. “on that fateful day, I was at home waiting for my husband to come back home. I had boiled hot water for his bath. I was pregnant that time and gave birth to our daughter on December 4, 2014. I got to know suddenly that my husband was no more when two elders from our village came and informed the news to my in-laws. My daughter is almost 9 years now and is studying Class III at Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School, Ukhrul. I long to know what actually happened that day, who killed my husband. I have accepted that he gave his life for a noble cause and that solace and comfort is enough to forgive the killer.”
Chanreiwon Vashi runs a garment shop at Ukhrul to support their son and meet their daily expense.
Justice seems far away for the families and loved ones of Mayopam and Ramkashing. They have to move on with time, yet, they seem to be stuck at that point of time when their lives were cruelly ended.
Today, in a simple programme, the 9th Martyrs Day of Mayopam and Ramkashing was held on Wednesday at the burial side. The programme was led by President of Tangkhul Naga Long and TNL Phungva. Wreath laying was taken up at the burial site and TNL leaders pays homagae and respect to the two fallen heroes.