In a shocking and deeply disturbing incident, a video has surfaced on social media showing two women from the Kuki-Zo tribal community being paraded naked and gang-raped by a violent mob in broad daylight. The incident occurred on May 4, 2023, in B Phainom village, Kangpoki District, Manipur, during a deadly riot between the Meitei and Kuki-Zo communities.
According to the FIR, the incident took place around 3 pm on May 4 when more than 800 miscreants carrying weapons entered the village. The mob vandalized and burnt down all the houses after looting movable properties, cash, furniture, electronic items, utensils, clothes, grains, and domestic animals, leaving the villagers homeless. Among the victims, a 21-year-old woman was gang-raped in a broad day light.
According to police sources, the horrifying incident unfolded when a small group comprising three women and two men, sought refuge in the forest area while the ethnic strikes were escalating. The group consisted of a 56-year-old man, his 19-year-old son, and 21-year-old daughter. Additionally, two others were accompanying them, one aged 42 and the other aged 52.
As they were making their way to the forest, the group encountered a police team from the Nongpok Sekmai Police Station. However, their path was obstructed by a violent mob. Tragically, the 56-year-old man was killed on the spot, and the 19-year-old boy also lost his life while attempting to protect his sister from the mob’s sexual assault.
During the horrifying ordeal, three women from the group were forcibly disrobed and paraded naked by the mob. The 21-year-old woman fell victim to a brutal gang-rape carried out by the mob .
The incident occurred after a deadly riot broke out on May 3 between the Meitei and Kuki-Zo communities. The root cause of the ethical violence is the judgement of the Manipur High Court, which directed the state government to consider including the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribes list. This decision led to protests and clashes, resulting in ongoing violence in the region.
The video of the horrifying incident went viral on June 19, triggering widespread outrage across the country. However, it wasn’t until June 21 that an FIR was finally registered, charging the perpetrators with gangrape, murder, abduction, and other offences.
Despite the passage of more than two months since the incident, no arrests had been made until recently. The Manipur Police, facing public pressure, tweeted on July 19, stating that they are making all-out efforts to arrest the culprits involved in the heinous act.
In response to the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday in front of the Parliament building broke his silence for the first time and expressed shame on behalf of the country. He urged all state Chief Ministers to tighten laws to protect the women of India. He also assured that no perpetrators will be forgiven and strict action will be taken against all involved.
The Minister of Women and Child Development Department and the Chief Minister of Manipur also condemned the incident and promised to ensure that the perpetrators face strict action. Smriti Irani on 19 July tweeted “The horrific video of sexual assault of 2 women emanating from Manipur is condemnable and downright inhuman. Spoke to CM @NBirenSingh ji who has informed me that investigation is currently underway & assured that no effort will be spared to bring perpetrators to justice.”
The chief Minister of Manipur Biren Singh on Thursday tweeted “My hearts go out to the two women who were subjected to a deeply disrespectful and inhumane act, as shown in the distressing video that surfaced yesterday. After taking a Suo-moto cognizance of the incident immediately after the video surfaced, the Manipur Police swung to action and made the first arrest this morning. A thorough investigation is currently underway and we will ensure strict action is taken against all the perpetrators, including considering the possibility of capital punishment. Let it be known, there is absolutely no place for such heinous acts in our society.”
The incident has deeply disturbed the nation, and the Supreme Court has taken cognizance of the matter. The court has asked the Centre and Manipur Government to submit a report by July 28, detailing the steps taken to bring the culprits to book and the measures being implemented to prevent such incidents in the future.
The incident has ignited a call for justice and safety for women across the country. The nation waits with bated breath for a resolution, hoping that such heinous acts will have no place in society, and stringent actions will be taken against the perpetrators.