Thangjam Manorama (1970–2004) was a Manipuri woman, possibly a rebel and a member of the People's Liberation Army of Manipur. On July 10, 2004, she was picked up from her home by the Indian paramilitary unit, 17th Assam Rifles. The next morning, her bullet-ridden corpse was found in a field. An autopsy revealed semen marks on her skirt suggesting possible rape.
Disparities in official version
At the time of the arrest, no incriminating items were found, as per the arrest memo. Later it was stated that a grenade and other items had been seized from her home.
Assam Rifles claimed that she was shot while trying to escape. However, no blood was found near the body despite six bullet wounds. No soldier was identified as having tried to run or detain her.
Given these disparities, a commission of inquiry was set up by the Manipur government in 2004, and submitted its report in Nov 2004. However, the Guwahati High court also looked into the matter and ruled that since the Assam Rifles had been deployed under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, the state government did not have jurisdiction over them, and the case should be dealt with by the central government. Thus, the report was never released subject to this judgment.
Protests against the AFSPA
Five days after the killing, around 30 middle-aged women walked naked through Imphal to the Assam Rifles headquarters, shouting: "Indian Army, rape us too... We are all Manorama’s mothers." Padma Shree author M. K. Binodini Devi returned her award in protest. Protests have continued in 2004 and over the years.
In early 2012, the Justice Varma committee includes measures for reviewing AFSPA as part of a set of steps to reduce violence against women; these measures are partly been attributed to the protests involving Manorama.
- "The Killing of Thangjam Manorama Devi". Human Rights Watch. Aug 2009.
- Press Trust of India (August 26, 2004). "Manipur: Semen Found On Manorama’s Clothes". rediff.com.quote:Forensic tests have detected stains of human semen on the clothes of Thangjam Manorama Devi ... [according to the] Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Kolkata, which submitted a report before an Inquiry Commission headed by retired judge C Upendra in Imphal, Commission sources said on Thursday.
- Geeta Pandey (August 27, 2004). "Woman at the centre of Manipur Storm". BBC News.
- Biswajyoti Das, Reuters, Manipur Burns, 09 August, 2004
- Anshul Kumar Pandey (Jan 25, 2013). "A Victory for Thangjam Manorama". DNA (Newspaper).
- Editorial (July 23, 2013). [url= http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/the-evidence-is-mounting/article4941923.ece "The evidence is mounting"]. The Hindu.