School students affected in Manipur violence stare at uncertain future
Imphal, May 16 (PTI) Fifteen-year-old Pushpa Karam fears that she will not do well in next year’s Class 10 exams.
His house in the Dorbung bungalow area of Manipur’s Surachandpur district was burnt down in the recent communal violence.
Karam, along with 42 school-going students and their families, has taken shelter in a relief camp in Kunbi area of nearby Bishnupur district. She was forced to miss maths and English courses.
“I fear that I will not do well in the Class 10 board exams next year, which may affect my dreams of getting into a good school in Imphal,” said Karam.
Karam is one of around 4,000 school-going students affected by the recent communal riots in Manipur. About 1,000 of them have been made homeless in the affected areas of Surachandpur and nearby Bishnupur district, while the rest are from Imphal East district and Moreh town, officials said.
As students fear they may lose an academic year because they cannot return to their schools in the affected areas, their parents’ immediate concern is finding a permanent place to stay.
“All my books, study materials and school papers were in my house and they were burnt.
My father says we can’t go back to Surachandpur anymore. I don’t know where I will go to school,” said 15-year-old Anu Irom Chanu, a student of Don Bosco School in Surachandpur.
He has taken shelter with his family in a community center in Moirang in neighboring Bishnupur district.
Seventeen-year-old Namojam Domba Singh of Dorbung Bangla in Surachandpur said his chances of getting a coveted course or job at the end of his school year have now dwindled.
“With my academic year in the doldrums and the uncertainty of where we will live, I don’t know how I will prepare for various exams like the NDA entrance exam, merchant marine,” Singh said. , whose parents are daily wage earners, he said.
Moirangthem Shyam of the People’s Development Association, which organized the relief camp in Kunbi, said that the affected students should be admitted to the nearest government school immediately so that their academic year is not wasted.
Officials said at least 73 people were killed, 231 injured and 1,700 houses, including religious places, burned in the recent communal violence that rocked the northeastern state.
Clashes erupted in Manipur on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Unity March’ was organized in the hill districts against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from the reserve forest, leading to a series of small protests.
About 53 percent of Manipur’s population, the Meiteis live in the Imphal Valley.
The tribals – the Nagas and the Kukis – constitute another 40 percent of the population and live in the hill districts.
About 10,000 army and paramilitary personnel were deployed to restore normalcy in the northeastern state.
Curfew has been relaxed for various periods in 11 affected districts, including from 5 am to 3 pm in Imphal East and West districts. PTI COR ACD ACD