Powered by

Home India

Who are Meira Paibi stopping Indian Army to act in Manipur?

Meira Paibis from Chandrakhong, Phanjakhong and neighbouring Meitei villages staged a sit-in protest at the Chandrakhong community hall

By Ground report
New Update
Who are Meira Paibi stopping Indian Army to act in Manipur?

Amid violent conflict between the Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur, the top officials of the security forces deployed in Manipur have expressed concerns over the actions of 'Meera Paibi' and are calling for the deployment of more women paramilitary forces to handle the situation. According to these officials, Meera Paibi is obstructing the movement of central paramilitary forces and clashing with them to prevent the arrest of those involved in violence.

Meera Paibi women have been actively involved in monitoring activities in various areas, particularly in Imphal. They meticulously check individuals, including security personnel, asking for their identity cards and ensuring essential goods are not reaching the people from the Kuki community trapped in hilly regions.

Journalists covering Manipur have also faced questioning from these vigilant women. The presence of Meera Paibi makes it challenging for the police to take action when they engage with security personnel on duty.

Shocking reports of sexual violence against women have further intensified concerns about the ongoing violence, with added alarm about some women allegedly supporting the attackers.

The months-long strife has destroyed thousands of homes and religious sites, including churches and temples, and has resulted in the emergence of dozens of cases of sexual assault on women from both communities.

Armed forces in the state have allegedly violated human rights for decades, prompting the women to fight against them. The state, marred by insurgency, has 34 ethnic tribal groups which complicate efforts to maintain social cohesion.

Last week, a mob of 800 men, allegedly from the Meitei community, stripped, paraded, and sexually assaulted two tribal women in a horrific incident, and the women primarily from the Meitei Hindu community burnt down the houses of two accused.

Who are Meira Paibi?

Meira Paibi, also known as "Torchbearing Women", is a women's social movement in the Indian state of Manipur. Founded in 1977 in the Kakching district, the organization has gained recognition for its efforts to combat human rights violations committed by armed forces and paramilitary units against innocent civilians. Carrying burning torches, these women march through the streets of the city as a patrol and to protest against the ongoing violence in the state.

The movement traces its roots to the Nupi lan (Women's War) movements during British rule in Manipur. Meira Paibi emerged during a period of civil unrest and insurgency in Manipur, particularly in response to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which gave unlimited powers to security forces. These women vigilantes were active in public affairs, holding demonstrations, road closures, and public bandhs to seek justice for victims of human rights abuses.

However, Meira Paibi has recently faced criticism for his alleged involvement in inciting violence during the 2023 Manipur conflict. Reports indicate that Meira Paibi activists blocked an Indian Army convoy to secure the release of members of a banned militant group. In addition, there have been allegations that the Meira Paibi women are responsible for the abduction and gang rape of a young woman.

Despite these controversies, Meira Paibi remains a major grassroots movement in Manipur fighting for social justice, political autonomy and human rights. The organization's role in shaping public discourse and its actions in the face of violence continues to be the subject of scrutiny and debate both inside and outside Manipur.

Keep Reading

Follow Ground Report for Climate Change and Under-Reported issues in India. Connect with us on FacebookTwitterKoo AppInstagramWhatsapp and YouTube. Write us on [email protected]