Manipur: Opposition, civil society horrified by video of two disrobed Kuki women paraded by mob

Manipur police said that a case of abduction, gangrape and murder has been registered against the unknown perpetrators of the May 4 video

Women from Manipur raise slogans during a protest over the ongoing violence in the state, at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi (photo: Getty Images)
Women from Manipur raise slogans during a protest over the ongoing violence in the state, at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi (photo: Getty Images)

NH Digital

The opposition and civil society have taken to social media to express their horror over the 76-day-old video which surfaced online on Wednesday, July 19, showing two naked women paraded around the streets, who were allegedly gangraped.

It has been found that the video was filmed on May 4, a day after violence and clashes between the two warring communities — Kukis and Meiteis — began in the north-eastern state.

"The incident in Manipur is very shameful and condemnable. This kind of heinous act cannot be tolerated in Indian society," Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.

"The situation in Manipur is becoming so worrying. I appeal to the Prime Minister to pay attention to the situation in Manipur. Please take strict action against the culprits seen in the video of this incident. There should not be any place for people with such criminal tendency in India," he added.

In a statement, Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said, "The Aam Aadmi Party has come across a viral video purportedly from Manipur where two women are paraded naked and are constantly molested by their captors. It has been brought to our notice that the video was shot on May 4 in Kangpokpi district in B Phainom Village where both the women were gang-raped after the entire village was burnt down."

The AAP condemns this "horrifying and continued ordeal of the helpless people of Manipur," it added. The statement mentioned that AAP is ready and willing to assist in any manner as the central government may deem fit.

The party also asked all citizens not to aggravate the plight and humiliation of the helpless women and speak up against the "sickening act" without sharing the gruesome video.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at prime minister Narendra Modi following the video.

"INDIA will not stay silent while the idea of India is being attacked" in the northeastern state. PM's silence and inaction has led Manipur into anarchy. INDIA will not stay silent while the idea of India is being attacked in Manipur. We stand with the people of Manipur. Peace is the only way forward," he tweeted referring to the united front — Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) — formed by 26 opposition parties on Tuesday, July 18, to stand up against the ruling BJP-led NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also reacted to the video, saying the pictures of "sexual violence against women" emerging from Manipur are heart-wrenching.

"No amount of condemnation is enough for this horrific incident of violence against women. Women and children have to bear the maximum brunt of violence in society. We must all condemn the violence in one voice while furthering the efforts for peace in Manipur," she said in a tweet in Hindi.

"Why has the central government, Mr Prime Minister turned a blind eye to the violent incidents in Manipur? Do such pictures and violent incidents not disturb them?" she asked.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted: "The rest of India had little clue that such an horrific incident occurred due to the ongoing internet ban in Manipur. But it’s absolutely inexcusable that the Women and Child Development Minister waited for 76 days to speak to the CM of Manipur or even issue a statement."

The Congress leader asked when will the Manipur CM N. Biren Singh be replaced. He also sought to know how many more such incidents have been suppressed, stating that the Monsoon Session of the parliament beginning on Thursday will address these questions.

"Was the Union government, the Home Minister or the Prime Minister not aware of this? When will the Modi government stop acting like all is well? When will the CM of Manipur be replaced? How many more such incidents have been suppressed?" Ramesh asked.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) also took to Twitter to condemn the "blood-curdling visuals have emerged from Manipur", stating the BJP's tall claims of "Nari Shakti ring hollow".

"What is stopping the Centre from dispatching fact-finding teams & commissions to Manipur? Why is the WCD Minister still silent on the matter?" the party asked.

Here is how the civil society responded to the incident:

Stop defending the govt by blaming the opposition. Internet was suspended in Manipur from May 3rd. Complaint was filed after the incident on May 4th. press release by Police on 19th July. It's been 3 months, None have been arrested till date. Manipur Police today points out that the incident is of 4th May, why were they waiting till 19th July to issue statement? No arrest till date.
Mohammed Zubair
You disagree with the European parliament intervention on Manipur. Sure. Then Why are we as a country looking away, why is the mainstream media looking the other way from Manipur. Why is the Prime Minister’s silence not being questioned?
Rana Ayyub
The stripping, parading & alleged gang rape of Kuki women is deeply painful& inhuman. Manipur Police confirms ‘zero FIR’. By now, they shd’ve investigated & caught the culprits. Are we so helpless?Entire India, including Meitei society shd unite for justice & stop such savagery.
Indian Police Foundation
To prosecute all those involved in what happened at B Phainom, registering an FIR at Kangpopki will mean nothing. A zero FIR has already been registered. The jurisdiction is Nongpok Sekmai in Thoubal. Will the Meitei establishment bring the perpetrators to justice? Even posing this question seems hopeless to me. The witnesses have mentioned in their testimonies from May that even police from there were present when the violence played out. They are already aware. The impunity of it all is just. it's just sickening.
Greeshma Kuthar
Is there no one to stop the atrocities in Manipur? If you are not shaken to the core by that disturbing video of two women, is it even right to call oneself human, let alone Bharatiya or Indian!
Renuka Shahane
Manipur is burning for 80 days, 150+ people have been killed mostly Kukis, about 400 churches have been burned, 60,000 people have been displaced. The images of Kuki women being paraded naked & sexually assaulted by the Meitei mob have stunned the world. Modi is still silent.
Ashok Swain
A society that watches while it’s women are paraded naked, groped, assaulted, gang raped and stripped of every shred of human dignity is barbaric, cruel and heartless. The Manipur incident is the heart of darkness. We have become vishwagurus in depravity.
Rohini Singh

Police said a case of abduction, gangrape and murder has been registered at Nongpok Sekmai police station in Thoubal district against unknown armed miscreants.

In a statement, they said an all-out effort is on to arrest the culprits at the earliest. According to a spokesperson of Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF), the "despicable scene, which happened on May 4 in Kangpokpi district, shows men constantly molesting the helpless women, who cry and plead with their captors."

"The horrifying ordeal suffered by these innocent women is amplified by the perpetrators' decision to share the video, which shows the identity of the victims, on social media," he said.

While condemning the "sickening act", the spokesperson in a statement demanded that the central and state governments, National Commission for Women and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes take cognisance of the offence and bring the culprits before the law.

The video was doing the rounds on the eve of a planned protest march announced by the ITLF on Thursday, July 20, to highlight their plight. The Kuki-Zo tribals are planning to raise this issue during the proposed protest march in Churchandpur.

At the start of the monsoon session of Parliament, PM Modi too took cognisance of the Manipur crisis for the first time in a public statement.

Over 160 people have died, thousands have been displaced, and unabated destruction has consumed Manipur since violence began 77 days ago. After numerous appeals, the PM has spoken on Manipur for the first time.

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