37th Remembrance Day of Operation Bluebird Observed with Candlelight Service

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Senapati: The 37th Remembrance Day of Operation Bluebird (Onae Reh Dah) was observed with a candlelight service at Khabung Karong on Tuesday evening. The event was organized by the Poumai Naga Union, Poumai Naga Women’s Union, and Poumai Naga Students’ Union.

In his keynote address, R.B. Pani, President of the Poumai Naga Union, termed the day as a victory day for all Nagas. He stated that many were tortured and killed during Operation Bluebird across Poumai land. The President emphasized that the day was observed to remember those who were killed, women who were raped and sexually molested, many who were tortured, and houses and religious and educational institutions that were burned and dismantled. He mentioned the importance of sharing the grief and pain of the victims from different villages affected during the operation.

Related | 37th Remembrance Day of Infamous Oinam Incident Held

T.S. Khaie, Chairman of Taphou Onaeme, provided a living witness account. He stated that the Oinam Army Outpost was first established in 1953, and different central armed forces were stationed there over the years. It was the 21 Assam Rifles who were posted at the outpost when the incident took place. He shared that many could not find their beloved family members after the incident. Since the commencement of the operation on 11 July 1987, inhumane torture was inflicted on both the young and old, including neighboring villages. Untold miseries followed, with innocent villagers subjected to severe torture, and educational and religious institutions burned down.

Khaie reported that in almost all Poumai Naga villages, 27 were killed, three women were raped, five women were sexually molested, two women were forced to give birth in public, 340 persons were tortured, 96 persons were arrested and detained for weeks, 125 houses were burned, 175 houses were dismantled, 10 churches were dismantled, and six schools were dismantled. These figures were stated to be only the recorded ones, with the possibility of unrecorded incidents as well.

Earlier in the day, the Poumai Naga Union and the Poumai Naga Students’ Union observed the day with flags at half-mast in front of their offices to mark the painful occasion.

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