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FC Goa player from Manipur recounts distressing days of violence in the region

FC Goa player from Manipur recounts distressing days of violence in the region

FC Goa's footballer, Dheeraj Singh, hailing from the border of Churchandpur said that he could hear gunshots every day in the morning amid the ethnic rift in Manipur.

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FC Goa player from Manipur recounts distressing days of violence in the region FC Goa player from Manipur recounts distressing days of violence in the region

FC Goa's footballer, hailing from the border of Churchandpur in Manipur, shares his experience of living amidst daily violence, claims 

For over five months Manipur - home state to FC Goa's footballer Dheeraj Singh and many other big names in the Indian football system has been a scene of unprecedented violence.

Dheeraj Singh while speaking to ESPN said "I can't imagine the things that are happening back at home. It's so difficult to keep our focus, to concentrate on whatever I'm doing here. It's true for all the people -- students, employees -- who are staying away from their families... it's not a normal feeling. You never know what's going to happen in the next moment. And it's been five months." "It's quite difficult when you see what's happening."

According to Dheeraj, another footballer from Manipur representing Hyderabad FC, Chinglensana Singh was been called for the national team but he got dropped off because he was allegedly not in the right mental space.

Also Read: Far from home, Kukis from Manipur fight for 'homeland' Israel. Read to know why.

"Look at Sana's [Chinglensana Singh, Hyderabad FC and India centre-back] situation - his house was burned down, he was called up for the national team and he dropped off because he was not in the right mental space... in whatever we do, [we need mental peace, first]," said Dheeraj.

Chinglensana comes from Churchandpur, the epicentre of the violence that broke out on the evening of May 2. Along with his house, the football turf he'd built for the youth in his village was destroyed too. Dheeraj says it was Salam Ranjan Singh, another fellow footballer, who gave Sana and his family shelter at his home. "His family is still there," says Dheeraj.

Dheeraj, who is from Moirang, a hamlet near Churchandpur, claims that his parents have gone out every day and night, defending their house and village.

"I was there in the last week of May, I could literally see from my building burning houses, and I could hear gunshots every day in the morning, in the evening. It's not normal..."

Dheeraj, a Meitei, went to Churchandpur, a Kuki-dominated region, to study. He has no idea what has happened in less than a decade. "One year back, we hosted our first international football game in Imphal," said Dheeraj. "We then hosted Miss India." I used to be proud when those things happened. But now consider the circumstance...it has changed a lot"

Dheeraj also asked the Union government to assist in finding a solution, without taking sides or defending anybody; he simply wanted everyone to get down and speak it out.

Edited By: Atiqul Habib
Published On: Oct 14, 2023