Imphal: A shocking video depicting the appalling mistreatment of two women by a group of men in Manipur has circulated widely on social media, leading to widespread condemnation and demands for immediate action. According to a statement by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), the two women were allegedly gang-raped in a field. The incident occurred on May 4 in the Kangpokpi district, approximately 35 km from Imphal’s state capital. However, the police have stated that the incident happened in a different district, although the first information report (FIR) was filed in Kangpokpi.
It has been reported that Chief Minister N Biren Singh has instructed the police to prioritize investigating this case. The Manipur Chief Minister’s Office informed NDTV that Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani has spoken with Mr Singh and the Chief Secretary regarding this horrific incident. The Chief Minister’s office assured her that swift action will be taken against the perpetrators of the crime. The incident occurred shortly after clashes between the Meitei, the majority group from the valley, and the Kuki tribe from the hills, who were demanding Scheduled Tribes (ST) status.
The ITLF’s statement described the deplorable scene on May 4 in the Kangpokpi district, showing the men continuously assaulting the defenseless women, who cried and pleaded with their captors.
“The perpetrators’ decision to share the video, which exposes the victims’ identities, on social media further magnifies the horrifying ordeal suffered by these innocent women,” stated the ITLF while appealing to the National Commission for Women and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes to take appropriate action.
In a tweet today, the Manipur Police announced that they had registered a case of gang rape and murder.
“Regarding the viral videos of two women being paraded naked by unidentified armed miscreants on May 4, a case of abduction, gang-rape, and murder was filed at Nongpok Sekmai police station (Thoubal district)… The investigation has commenced. The state police are making every effort to apprehend the culprits at the earliest,” tweeted the Manipur Police. “We have identified the individuals and will apprehend them soon,” added a senior police officer in an interview with Media.
According to the officer, the survivors approached the police approximately 15 days after the horrifying incident on May 4. “They went to Kangpokpi, although the crime did not occur there. However, we have obtained leads. We will apprehend the individuals within a day or two,” the officer stated.
Political leaders and others have expressed their shock regarding the Manipur incident on social media, urging the central and state governments to act against those involved in this heinous act.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted in Hindi expressing her distress over the images of sexual violence against women emerging from Manipur. She stated, “There is not enough condemnation for this horrific violence against women. Women and children bear the greatest burden of violence in society.” Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, the chief of Tripura’s Tipra Motha Party, tweeted, “Disturbing videos have emerged from Manipur, showing a woman from a particular community being paraded naked by a mob. There is a complete breakdown in the relationship between the two communities there. Hate has prevailed in Manipur.”
“Attention India. The modesty of two tribal women from Manipur was violated on May 4. They were paraded naked, sexually assaulted, and beaten in full public view. A disturbing video of one of the perpetrators captured has leaked and gone viral today. This defies all levels of humanity,” tweeted Hoihnu Hauzel, a journalist and resident of Manipur.
Internet services have been suspended in BJP-ruled Manipur since May 4, and the state continues to witness sporadic violence. The Kuki tribe has demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister. Ethnic violence has resulted in over 120 deaths and thousands of internally displaced persons currently residing in relief camps.