Imphal, June 18 : Having lived for years under the shadow of terror and facing atrocities of militant groups, a lot of people in Manipur have developed a strong dislike for them. They are now keen to protect their children from any influence of violence.
Their growing dislike for militants was clear recently when several children and shopkeepers at the Keinou Village, 20 kilometers from the State capital Imphal in the Bishnupur district burnt their toy guns in a bornfire to express their anguish and appealed for peace.
The objective of throwing toy guns into the bonfire was to distance themselves from any possibility of picking up any violent habit.
Hundreds of children below 13 years of age took out a march holding placards, which read: "Let's give up the habit of playing with toy-guns", "Let's play football, wrestling, hockey etc."
The village children carried banners reading: "I love football, I hate toy guns", 'We hate toy guns," "We love football', 'No to toy guns, Yes to yubi lakpi'....
A. Marjit Khuman, a social worker in Keinou Village, said: "Children who are not able to differentiate between good and bad, by playing with toy guns their minds might get corrupted with negative thoughts. Besides, the film and serials leave a negative impact. We don't want this attitude in our children. "
Khuman said: "We decided to start a campaign and find alternative games for the children as they cannot be stopped from playing. Other than playing with toy guns we have other traditional games that they can play and also we decided to supply them with other sports equipments. After burning the toy guns, we will distribute sports equipments and books."
Nganbileima Devi, a village girl, said: "Playing with toy guns leads to a lot of financial trouble too. We buy toy guns worth Rs. 200-400 during Yaoshang festival, and later, we do not have enough money to buy our books. Also many children and adults have got injured from playing or enacting violent activities from the bullets even if it is just a toy gun."
Villagers in Keinou reflected the popular mood of the Manipur society today. People want the new generation to be away from the negative impact of militancy and flourish in the peaceful atmosphere. By L.C.K Singh