“The stitches all over my body remind me of what all those men did to me”: Kuki student 65 days after FIR
“How many videos need to surface?” the nursing student assaulted by 150 armed men and women asks the Manipur CM
After Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh—in reaction to the viral video clip of two naked women being paraded, groped and dragged about by a mob in the state—claimed on TV that there were hundreds of similar videos circulating, a distraught Kuki woman told The Telegraph that she wanted to ask the elected leader of the state a question.
“Our chief minister said on Thursday that there is absolutely no place for such heinous act in society. I don’t know why he is saying all these things now,” said the former nursing student from Churachandpur, who used to study in Imphal.
She went on to ask: “Is it only because he saw the viral video? How many videos of atrocities against women need to surface for the chief minister to admit that a section of women has been under attack only because of their ethnicity?”
The BJP and the Union government have refused to replace the chief minister despite mounting evidence of his failure to maintain law and order even in Imphal valley over the past two-and-a-half months. N. Biren Singh, for his part, said such disturbing videos were the very reason the internet had been shut down in the state over the past 78 days.
The Kolkata-based newspaper on Friday, 21 July, published a painful account of the atrocities visited on her.
Crucially, the young woman stressed while speaking to the Telegraph that her story is neither rare nor an anomaly. There are hundreds of such stories told in the relief camp at Churachandpur, she said, adding, “[The] abuse and assault… started in a planned manner on 3 May. We hear that such crimes are still continuing but on a lower scale.”
Below are excerpts from her anguished account—and her question for the chief minister—as published in the Telegraph:
“Whatever he has said (Thursday, 20 July) is meaningless to me as I have been waiting for justice for 65 days after lodging an FIR, in which I had described how I was abused and assaulted by around 150 armed men and women who had raided our institute around 4 pm on 4 May. “I lodged the first ‘zero’ FIR [one that can be registered with any police station, irrespective of place of occurrence] at Uttam Nagar Police Station in Delhi, after I was released from AIIMS, where I had been taken for treatment after I spent a few days at a hospital in Imphal. “I returned to Manipur and again lodged another ‘zero’ FIR at Churachandpur police station on 30 May.
“Based on my account, several charges such as grievous hurt by a dangerous weapon, outraging modesty of a woman, kidnapping and abduction for murder, assault with intent to dishonour a person and acts by several persons with a common intent were filed against unknown persons in the two FIRs. “Both these FIRs were transferred to the police station that has jurisdiction over the institute where I studied. “No one has contacted me to record my statement, although I was for several days at a hospital that was barely a few metres from the police station in Imphal… “So, when our CM is talking about police ‘swinging into action’, I know he doesn’t mean it. “I am still bearing the stigma of what happened to me on 4 May… [The gang] checked the identity cards to zero in on the Kuki students out of the 90-odd at the dormitory.
“Ten of us were present but two were rescued by the police and six others escaped. “My friend and I was caught and identified by the gang, made up of men belonging to the Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun [radical Meitei youth groups] and some women. “For over half an hour, these men kicked us around like kids playing with a football. Groups of men were jumping on us… I can never forget the screams from the women who were enjoying the assault on us and their prodding and provoking the men to kill us. “Before I fell unconscious, I could hear some of them discussing whether I was still alive... “I regained consciousness in the ICU of JNIMS, Imphal, and I was told that cops had picked me up from the roadside… “I had several external and internal injuries. Thank God, I did not end up with any permanent disability…
“My dream of having a career in healthcare is over… I cannot even think of returning to Imphal. “I do not have any expectations from this chief minister. “But I have a question for him. “As [a] healthcare student, the first lesson we learn is not to discriminate between patient[s] on the basis of religion or caste or any other parameter. The chief minister took the oath to serve and protect all Manipuris, irrespective of their religion, caste and ethnicity. “Was he ever loyal to the oath? He owes an answer to all the abused and assaulted women of Manipur.”