Against the background of recent unrest in Manipur, a video surfaced showing two women from the Kuki-Zomi group being nakedly paraded by a crowd of men and sexually raped.
Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani contacted the state’s Chief Minister N Biren Singh after receiving several complaints about the film from politicians of all stripes.
The event occurred on May 4 in the Thoubal district, according to a senior police officer, and an FIR was filed on May 18 in the Kangpokpi district, with no charges filed. Two months have passed since the FIR was filed, charging “unknown armed miscreants” with kidnapping, gang rape, and murder, but no suspects have been apprehended in the meanwhile.
UNDERSTANDING THE INCIDENT
Both ladies, one in her twenties and the other in her forties are from the Kangpokpi hill district, which is mostly inhabited by the Kuki-Zomi people. The males in the video force them to go nude down a road and into a field. The males are seen carrying the two ladies into an open field, where they begin to violently grope them. After filing a complaint at a police station in Kangpokpi district, where a zero FIR was filed and the matter was submitted to the police station involved in Thoubal, victims learned that the assault had occurred in the Meitei-dominated valley area of Thoubal.
Despite the fact that only two ladies can be seen in the video, the lawsuit alleges that the mob also stripped another lady in her 50s. The younger lady was “brutally gang raped in broad daylight,” according to the lawsuit. The victims claim in their complaint that on the afternoon of May 4, a day after violence broke out in the state on May 3, a “group of 800-1,000 persons carrying sophisticated weapons like AK Rifles, SLR, INSAS and.303 Rifles” entered their village and began looting and burning it. Five villagers, including the three women and two family members of the youngest, fled towards the forest.
They said that the police eventually rescued them and were transporting them to the station, but that they were grabbed from police custody by the crowd around two kilometers out. They said that the youngest lady’s father was murdered right then and there, and that “all three women were physically forced to remove their clothes and were stripped naked in front of the mob.” They also claimed that the youngest woman was raped in front of the other two women. Her brother, they said, was slain while attempting to rescue her.
The three ladies eventually made it out of the area through the neighboring hill region of Tengnoupal and are now sheltering in temporary structures.
UPDATES AS OF LATE
The Manipur viral video case, which involves allegations of sexual assault and nude public display of two Kuki women, was recently taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation. On Friday night, the investigating agency submitted a First Report of Incident (FIR). The Centre has asked the Supreme Court to move the case out of Manipur, where two women were recently exposed in public, and the court will consider the appeal on Monday.
Meanwhile, victims have filed applications with the Supreme Court against the BJP-ruled Centre and the Manipur government, asking for a suo moto action and an impartial investigation while also asking for their anonymity to be protected. The Supreme Court issued a statement criticizing the horrifying video footage as a “gross constitutional failure” last week. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud issued a stern warning to the administration, urging them to protect women in the area and to keep the court abreast of their efforts.
The government in Delhi has asked the Supreme Court to relocate the trial out of Manipur and has requested a timeline of six months for its completion.