Some mothers, like tennis star Kim Clijsters or boxing champion FC Marykom, deliver aces or knockout punches. Others in conflict zones, like Thingujam Kiranmala and Aboi Vaiphei, deliver extortion notes and pistols.
Militant outfits in Manipur began outsourcing their subversive missions to security personnel some time back. They have now employed young housewives, preferably with a baby in her arms, to fuel their separatist campaigns.
This came to light after the Manipur Police arrested five women who were on the payroll of these outfits. Their assignment — for Rs 500-1,000 per job — was to serve extortion notices, collect money and deliver small arms.
Helping the police get wind of the new modus operandi were the residents of Kakwa Lilando Lampak area in Imphal West district. Last week, they caught Kiranmala alias Inaobi (30) while extorting money for the area’s pradhan, P. Devan. The outlawed Kangleipak Communist Party had served him a pay-up notice earlier.
The locals later handed her and two of her aides — a woman named Aboi Vaiphei (31) and Ngulkhohao Vaiphei (22), a rifleman of the 6th Indian Reserve Battalion — to a patrolling commando unit. The latter entrusted the terror trio with the police in the adjoining Imphal East district.
“The arrested housewives confessed to working for militant groups for money,” Imphal East police chief Th Radheshyam Singh told HT. He added that three more housewives with infants in tow were also arrested from other areas of the district.
Kiranmala had taken her 10-month-old baby along to extort from Devan. So did Okram Puspa Devi (29) of Sekmaijin village, Ashang Kasungti (29) of Tapokpi village and Anju Thapa (25) of Purum Khulen Sogolmang village while delivering demand notes to health clinics and business houses in Imphal.
“These women come from poor families and fall prey to militants ready to pay. This is a very disturbing trend,” Singh said. Other officers said the militants could be taking advantage of the tendency of security forces to spare a young woman carrying a child the ordeal of frisking.
Wary of attracting flak from rights activists, the police have appealed to the people to inform them about “any woman with child moving in their respective area in a suspicious manner”.