MHA's excuse to SC: Civil society groups cut off access to Manipur sexual assault victims

Home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla submitted to the Supreme Court on July 28, as directed, the steps taken by the state and central government to alleviate the Manipur crisis

Representative image of anti-rape protests (Photo: NH Library)
Representative image of anti-rape protests (Photo: NH Library)

NH Digital

Home secretary of India Ajay Kumar Bhalla, on July 28, submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court that claimed the home ministry had not been able to reach out to the survivors of sexual assault in Manipur owing to “resistance from civil society organisations in Churachandpur”.

Bhalla added that the home ministry had been monitoring the situation in Manipur regarding the Kuki women who were paraded naked and then allegedly gang-raped ever since the video came to light.

The affidavit also informed the apex court that the case had been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation and requested the court to shift the hearing of the case to a court outside Manipur to ensure impartiality. The home ministry also requested the court to direct that the trial should be concluded within a period of six months of the CBI filing the chargesheet.

The Centre's affidavit also states that an all-women team comprising two psychiatrists and a psychologist from Churachandpur District Hospital has been constituted to assist the victims.

Unfortunately, it would appear the team in question has in fact not been able to reach out to the survivors, owing to 'resistance' from the 'civil society organisations' in the area—so the affidavit claimed.

The home ministry also submitted before the court that the state government has formulated "rehabilitative measures" for the victims. These include “counselling from a trained professional at a place of choice, maintaining secrecy and security; arrangement for education in case of willingness to pursue education; assistance with a meaningful livelihood; adequate provisions for vocational training and suitable job for the victims or their next of kin”.

It also submitted that a “suitable reward” will be given for reporting such incidents and furnishing information leading to the arrest of culprits, for which the state government will also provide anonymity and security.

The affidavit adds that all such cases are to be reported to the Manipur director-general of police (DGP), who will directly supervise the investigations.

On July 20, a Supreme Court bench led by chief justice of India DY Chandrachud had stated that it was “deeply disturbed” by visuals of the incident, which had surfaced on July 19. The court had asked the state and central government to apprise the apex court of the steps taken to alleviate the situation.

As of now, Manipur police has arrested seven of the accused since July 19 when the video surfaced. However, a zero FIR had been submitted on May 18 itself, and no arrests had been made till July 19; and as far as the media is aware, no direct help has reached the victims from the administration.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines