If you come across Monika Khangembam you’ll think of her as just another next door girl. But the girl who rattled the country and became a topic of discussion among all and sundry is way more than that.
The young girl from Manipur is a popular women rights activist, who has also won international accolades for her work in the field of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
Monika Khangembam is the Founder of Women And Youth for Peace and Development (WYPD), an Imphal-based NGO which was founded in 2015. It focuses on empowering women in rural Manipur as well as women who have been widowed by the present conflict in the state. It provides psycho-social intervention to the widows so they can come out of the exploitation and stigma, and be leaders on their own. The organisation also advocates for the role of women in decision making and works with the youth from different ethnic communities, who are in conflict with each other.
Monika is also the Curator of Global Shapers Imphal Hub by the World Economic Forum. A British Council Global Changemaker (2011), she has also been actively advocating against the draconian AFSPA Act for the last 7 years.
IGI Airport Incident
Monika was on her way to Seoul to represent India at EWHA Global Empowerment Program. However things took a turn for the worsr at the Delhi airport. The activist to her horror found the immigration officer racially harassing her on her appearance. The officer refused to believe that she was an Indian and went on to ask questions like ‘How many states are there in India?’, ‘Tell me how many states Manipur shares borders with?’ etc.
She posted this unpleasant encounter on her Facebook page and it certainly rattled the country. A lot of people came out in support of her and condemned the concerned officer. Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also took note of her post and tweeted an apology to Khangembam and assured that she will take up the matter with Rajnath Singh, Minister of Home Affairs of India. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijuju also tweeted about taking proper action after an enquiry.