In a shocking incident of sexual violence, two Kuki women were paraded naked and gang-raped by a mob of Meitei men in Manipur, a state in north-eastern India. The incident, which took place on May 4, came to light after a graphic video of the assault went viral on social media on Wednesday.
The video shows the terrified women being surrounded by a crowd of men, some of them armed with sticks and canes, as they are forced to walk through a street. The men can be heard hurling abuses and threats at the women, who cry and plead for mercy. The video ends with the women being dragged to a nearby field, where they were allegedly gang-raped.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), a Kuki organization, said in a statement that the incident occurred in B. Phainom village in Kangpokpi district after the village was set on fire and two Kuki men were lynched by a Meitei mob. The ITLF accused the Meitei community of targeting the Kaki tribe amid ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur.
The violence erupted in early May after a court ordered the state government to consider granting special tribal status to the Meitei community.
The video of the sexual assault sparked outrage across India, with many people demanding justice for the victims and action against the perpetrators. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who kept silent on the Manipur human rights abuses finally open his mouth to condemn the incident as “shameful” and “unforgivable”, and assured that the law would take its course. However, his government was trying to cover up the incident.
Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh said that one person had been arrested so far and that more arrests would follow. He also said that he would consider imposing capital punishment for the culprits.
The incident has also raised questions about the security situation and human rights violations in Manipur, which has been plagued by insurgency and ethnic conflicts for decades. Several civil society groups and activists have called for an end to the violence and a peaceful dialogue between the communities. They have also urged the central and state governments to take steps to restore law and order and protect the rights and dignity of all citizens.