It’s been three months and counting since the ethnic conflict began in Manipur, claiming 160 lives and displacing thousands. This includes students, many of whom fled to Delhi. Now, they’re dealing with the trauma of what they went through while also worrying about their futures.
Newslaundry met with the students in Delhi. Three of them had been at Manipur University on the night of May 3, when mobs came hunting for Kuki students. They were later rescued by the Assam Rifles.
“The last defence we had was chilli powder,” said Mercy, who had been present that night. “We didn’t know why we were being targeted that way. We were ready to jump off the balcony, we’d rather die than fall into their hands at that time.”
Another student, Neime, recalled that the mob had chanted “they are Kukis, kill them”. She said the mob tried to “burn” the students even as the security forces attempted to negotiate.
The students also spoke about their fears for the future, since they can’t return to Imphal.
“We have a lot of long-term demands from the government,” said Lum, a Manipur University student. “We have drafted memorandums to the PM, home minister, UGC and any authority that could help us. Till now, there is not even a single reply.”
Text by Akansha Purohit.