Alkazi Foundation’s Photobook Awardee (2017), Rohit Saha presented his graduation work that was based on Manipur from 2016-2018. Creating visibility around the 1528 individuals who lost their lives in extra-judicial killings between 1979-2012, this publication presented Rohit’s personal telling of his experiences, a combination of documents and his own images around those who have survived or lived through the disappearances of their loved ones.
The Launch was in conversation with Tanvi Mishra, Creative Director, The Caravan; Photo Editorial, PIX.
Brief about the Publication
In August 2016, after a 16-year hunger strike protesting the removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), civil rights activist and poet, Irom Sharmila broke her fast. Her drive for change began in 2000, in response to the slaughter of ten people at a bus stand by the armed forces in a village called Malom. This inordinate strike came to be known as Malom Massacre.
AFSPA, as it has been enforced in Manipur – often described as a ‘disturbed state’ – allows the military to execute anyone on the mere suspicion of terrorism. It has recently been claimed that there are well over 1528 individuals who have lost their lives in such extra-judicial killings between 1979 and 2012.
With this project, my aim was to understand the nature and scale of these fictitious clashes that are often called ‘fake encounters’, considering the landscape as witness. By volunteering for the EEVFAM (Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association Manipur) – an organisation formed by the widows of deceased – I gained insight and gathered evidence about the situation at hand. By going through available testimonies and witness accounts, I was able to shape my current perspective – a photobook of my personal experiences in Manipur between 2016-2018.