Indian Gun Survivors for an Arms Trade Treaty

Philem Johnson, Gun Survivor, Manipur

A police firing incident in 1999 robbed me off my teens & my future. One boy was killed & I along with another was wounded. A bullet pierced through my spinal cord & I became paraplegic. My dreams of becoming a doctor & a sportsman were shattered in an instant. I became half dead and a burden, slowly squeezing the sop out of my family�s life.

Later on I realized that the incident was the direct out fall of the deteriorating law & order situation in Manipur, my state in the North Eastern region of India. Dozen others too were falling victims to it. In many hill areas & other remote areas in Manipur, countless incidents of brutality happen. Many young women lose their dignity. People�s life�s savings are robbed everyday.

When going outside no one feels secure. Every now and then my mother would call me up for my whereabouts. So it�s a burden to both of us. Gun fights between security forces & insurgents, ambushes, bomb blasts & unwarranted killing have become the order of the day. Fear psychosis loomed large in the minds of the people. Common men become the target of security forces & insurgents. We are living in a war zone. What will happen everyday is uncertain and we are afraid to roam about freely lest we run into some security forces personnel or insurgents. Hundreds are assaulted and tortured physically. Wails of mothers and womenfolk fill the air. Today life has become a hell!!

The incident that happened to me 8 years ago has changed my life. Now, I came to value my life and others more. I love my mother and father more than before. As instead of showing their love they are giving it to me by helping me in my daily life.

My brief description of the state of affairs in Manipur is just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of souls are weeping silently like my mother. It is my appeal and prayer that the turmoil comes to an end for the sake of peace and humanity.

The need of the hour is to take up certain steps to curb the problem of armed violence which is spreading like a deadly virus today. Supporting Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) can be the first step from us. This can surely saves many lives. And so, I appeal to the people of this country to support it whole-heartedly. Please let us not take birth to yet another me Philem Johnson.

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CAFI successfully held an advocacy meeting on 6 Dec 2018 in New York City at backdrop of UN Third Committee and during the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence.

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