Binalakshmi Nepram is a dynamic and courageous activist, writer and advocate for promoting peace through arms reduction and is working towards a disarmament movement in India. She belongs to Manipur state in the North East Region, where insurgency and armed conflict has been rampant for more than 40 years. Life in Manipur state is precarious. Multiple‐layers and actors of violence include insurgents, warring tribes, para‐military, army and the police – each with their own agendas. For civilians, day‐to‐day living is fragile with cross‐fires.
Binalakshmi grew up in this cross‐fire and lost her very young niece and nearly her parents. This became a turning point for her to mobilize women for the first ever ‘Women Gun Survivors Network’ in the country and advocate for arms control. Through this Network, Binalakshmi works in 300 villages in two North Eastern states and is in the process of expanding the work to other states. The Network enables women survivors with their socio‐economic and legal rights, provides psycho‐social counseling, facilitates income‐earning opportunities, children’s schooling and helps them to live with courage and dignity. Women’s leadership is nurtured and advanced through the Network to become agents of change and ensure access to justice for their sisters who survive gun‐violence.
The Control Arms Foundation, that Binalakshmi co‐founded, works to restrict sale of guns and weapons. India is the second country after United States in terms of number of weapons owned by civilians. Through the Foundation’s advocacy, the licensing system of civilian weapon ownership in Delhi State has changed to include women’s consent for men who buy arms as a deterrant(99.9% of civilian gun‐owners in India are men). This model is now being advocated for the rest of India. Binalaksmi has been instrumental in spearheading this procedure. She also leads the Foundation for using evidence‐based advocacy to make a case against ‘weaponizing’ the society. For example, 12 Indians are killed every day due to small arms and 5000 Indian die every year due gun‐violence.
Binalakshmi has published several articles and written a book and is one of the recipient of the “Indian of the Year Award” for Special Achievement by the CNN‐IBN. Go here to get a fuller idea of Binalakshmi Nepram leadership in the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network.