Manipur: Judoka Shushila Devi requests Mirabai to lend support

The family of Shushila Devi comprising six members including three children had to relocate as their ancestral home was torched leaving them with no option.

CHENNAI:  Judoka Likmabam Shushila Devi, a two-time CWG silver medallist, was at her home in Heingang Mayai Leikai, Imphal East (Manipur) when her aunt’s family shifted there from the neighbouring village. The family comprising six members including three children had to relocate as their ancestral home was torched leaving them with no option. 

“They are safe here but the incident has left them shellshocked. As Imphal is safe, displaced people are preferring it for relocation. As many as 400-500 people are staying in a relief camp in our village. We have given them shelter in a community hall,” Shushila told this daily.

Not in the long list sent for the upcoming Asian Games, Shushila was rehabilitating in her village when violence broke out. With several restrictions imposed to handle the situation, Shushila stopped going for rehabilitation and training. Instead, she decided to help people in whatever way she could. “We (villagers) give foodgrains to people staying in the camp. We have also arranged a cook for them. But we are worried as things need to improve soon otherwise it will go out of control.”  

In order to contain violence, several roads have been cut off but the move has aggravated people’s problems. Prices of essential items have soared. “Everything has become expensive. Take for example petrol and diesel. Their prices have skyrocketed. Add to it the heat, it’s not making life easier for us. People here in the camp have not bathed for days. There are pregnant women and newborns. It’s difficult to look after them with so many problems cropping up every single day. We cannot seek help or tell our situation to the rest of the country as there is no internet connectivity for a month now.”

She along with a few other athletes from the state also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday. “A delegation comprising national award winners met Home Minister yesterday (Tuesday). We have submitted a memorandum to him demanding to restore normalcy. He has assured us to resolve the issue. But the government needs to act swiftly otherwise it will be too late. We have also told the Home Minister that we will return awards if the situation doesn’t improve,” she said.

Shushila also got in touch with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic silver medallist weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, seeking her support. “I called Mirabai as well. I requested her to voice our concerns as she is in a situation to do so. I don’t think people in other parts of the country know about our ordeal. If Mirabai apprises them of our situation, they will know. Her voice can reach even to the Prime Minister,” the champion judoka signed off.

The violence in the state has affected the lives of scores. For athletes like Shushila, who went to the Olympics in Tokyo, it has meant completely stopping her programme to serve the people of her state, to help them recover. It’s not a surprise that sporting centres have been shut down and athletes sent back home...

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