Manipur: A woman’s body cannot be the battle ground

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manipur women paraded naked in the midst of ethnic violence
Representative photo

Massive condemnation and outrage have swept across the nation after a distressing video emerged from Manipur, depicting the most heinous and unforgivable crime. The viral video showed two women from the Kuki-Zomy tribe being paraded naked by a violent mob during an ongoing community crisis in Manipur. Subsequently, the women were reportedly molested and subjected to brutal gang rape.

The tragedy, which occurred on 4 May as a result of an outbreak of violence, sent shockwaves throughout the country. The footage recently surfaced, sparking immediate reaction by concerned authorities and massive public outrage. Union Minister Smriti Z Irani quickly reached out to Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, promising harsh punishment for the culprits.

According to senior police officials in Manipur, a Zero FIR was registered on 18 May at Kangpokpi Police Station, implicating the accused in this horrifying incident. The video showed two women, but the complaint reveals that several more women, including those in their 50s, were forced to disrobe in front of the mob. Among them, a young woman in her twenties was subjected to a brutal gang rape in broad daylight.

The victims’ complaint sheds light on the harrowing events that unfolded on that fateful day. After an attack on their village by a group of 800-1,000 individuals armed with sophisticated weapons, including AK Rifles, SLR, INSAS, and .303 Rifles, five villagers, including three women and two family members of the youngest woman, sought refuge in the forest. The police later rescued them, but they were intercepted by the violent mob while being taken to the police station. Tragically, the youngest woman’s father lost his life on the spot, and the three women endured a horrifying ordeal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his deep anguish and anger over the incident. Ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament, he assured the nation that no guilty party would be spared, and stringent actions would be taken in accordance with the law. He firmly stated, “What happened to the daughters of Manipur can never be forgiven.”

The opposition parties, including Congress and AAP, have strongly criticized both the state and central governments for their failure to effectively address the ongoing crisis in Manipur. Fifteen Members of Parliament have issued a notice to suspend all parliamentary business and prioritize discussions on the Manipur violence.

The Supreme Court has also taken suo moto cognizance of the gruesome act, warning the central government to act immediately, or else it will intervene. The court has scheduled the suo moto case for hearing on 28 July.

The appeal for justice is heard across the country, with officials demanded to take prompt and decisive action to bring the perpetrators to justice and secure the safety and dignity of all citizens, particularly vulnerable women who need protection in the violence-stricken state. Furthermore, the government has requested that the video be removed from Twitter in order to avoid its further distribution and re-victimization of the affected women, emphasising the importance of respecting their privacy and dignity during this difficult time.

As a nation, we stand united in our demand for justice, compassion, and dignity for the victims. We must remember that a woman’s body should never be treated as a battleground for violence and hatred. This tragic incident should serve as a reminder for us to come together and not allow this tragedy to be forgotten.

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