Violence has taken away my house, my dream, everything we had: India footballer | Off the field News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: On a humid May evening in Kozhikode, as India footballer Chinglensana Singh made his way along the field to the dressing room. When he arrived, he discovered a trail of text messages and a storm of missed calls on his phone.

Worried, he attempted to return the calls right away, but to no effect. But the centre-back from the conflict-torn state Manipur quickly discovered that he had lost practically everything in the carnage that erupted on May 3, the same day he was representing Hyderabad FC in an AFC Cup playoff (Asian continental tournament) match against Mohun Bagan in faraway Kozhikode.
“It has taken away everything from us, everything we earned, everything we had,” the player, hailing from Khumujama Leikai in Churachandpur district, told PTI.

“I heard the news of our house being torched and then the football turf that I built in Churachandpur was burnt. It was really heartbreaking.
“I had the big dream of providing a platform to the youngsters but it was taken away. Fortunately, my family escaped the violence and was shifted to a relief centre,” he added.
When the 27-year-old eventually got to contact his mother, who was weeping on the other end amid the sound of gunshots near one of the epicentres of the carnage, he immediately resolved to return to his parents.
He couldn’t wait any longer because the fights had ruined his house, decimated his village, and dashed his hopes of giving ambitious footballers wings. Only his family escaped.
He is relieved to have them around, and is now considering how to overcome the deeply upsetting event and begin again.
“I always had a big dream of providing a platform to the youngsters in Churachandpur who are talented but they couldn’t afford to enrol in a football school.
“My aim was to provide them a platform, to help them become professional players and then go on and play for the national team… become great players for the country. Then this incident happened, so everything is being robbed. But we will try to start again.”
The violence was sparked by a court ruling in March that asked the govt to consider granting the majority Meitei scheduled tribe status, entitling them to the same economic benefits and quotas in government jobs and education as the minority Kuki.
It also allowed Meiteis to buy land in the hills, where the Kukis predominately live, further fuelling fears that their lands, jobs and opportunities would be taken away.
(With inputs from PTI)

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