for e-pao.net on Aug. 20, 2010
Imphal, Manipur, India: The physical scars may still be there, but thankfully, the fear, the pangs of sorrow and the wounds inflicted on little Mritika's mind after militants triggered a bloody bomb attack at Imphal ISKCON temple four years ago, no longer haunts her.
This is one solace that has emerged after the murderous and cowardly bomb attack on a group of unsuspecting devotees during Krishna Janma on August 16, 2006 at ISKCON.
The International Director of ISKCON and an inspiration to all, even to the non-believers of ISKCON, Swami Damodara was among those injured and he never fully recovered from the shock of such an audacious attack and passed away after a few months, though not from the injuries suffered during the bomb attack.
Mritika Sapam was performing Krishna inside the temple complex on Janmasthami (August 16, 2006) when militants lobbed a powerful bomb in the middle of the mandap killing six devotees and injuring over forty including her and many Ras Leela artistes besides Brajabashimayum Gopal Sharma, their Guru.
The little girl received multiple injuries on her left hand, her Guru Gopal was wounded on the right leg while some artistes who performed Braja Gopis too were injured in the attack.
Among the injured artistes, four of them including Mritika, who is currently reading in standard V will re-enact the Krishna Leela in the coming Janmasthami which falls on September 2 at the same venue and at the same occasion in a show of resilience and defiance against such cowardly attacks.
'I was reading in standard I when the incident took place.
My left hand was seriously injured in the incident, I saw many people lying in a pool of blood and all I could do was cry and cry out of fear,' recalled the young artiste hailing from Kwakeithel.
'In the last four years or so, I have managed to overcome the nightmare of that day and with my injuries fully healed I'm now ready to perform Krishna in Krishna Leela on the coming Janmasthami,' a sweet Mritika, who wants to become a doctor, said.
Altogether 21 artistes will perform the show, dance Guru Gopal said adding that 'they are doing well and Mritika will perform for around two hours without break on stage' .
A visiting Guru (Ras Leela) in Jawaharlal Nehru Manipuri Dance Academy (JNMDA), Imphal said he was bed-ridden for about six months after he received splinter injuries on his leg.
Significantly, a tribal boy Lansingpu from Ukhrul district who recently joined ISKCON and is currently studying in the society's Gurukul will take on the part of Balaram in the Leela.
ISKCON Imphal temple president Ajit Das said preparations for celebration Janmasthami are almost over.
'As in the past we will also approach the police to take up security measures in and around the complex to avoid any unwanted incidents,' Das said adding that some foreigners may also turn up for the festival.
Disturbingly, the bomb attack on ISKCON on August 16 in 2006, did not in any way disturb the conscience of the people and the very next day, everything seemed normal.
This was in sharp contrast in a land which has become notorious for staging dharnas and bandhs for any reasons that one can think of under the sky.