Horrific videos of two young women being paraded naked on a road by a mob in Manipur have been widely circulated on social media, drawing widespread condemnation and demand for strictest actions.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) claimed that the two women were also gang-raped in a paddy field after being paraded naked on May 4, and demanded stern actions against the perpetrators.
Many political leaders, including Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Tipra Motha Party (TMP) supremo Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman severely condemned the incident and demanded strict action.
Responding to the incident, Manipur Police, in a tweet, said: "All out effort to arrest culprits as regard to the viral video of 02 (two) women paraded naked: As regard to the viral video of 02 (two) women paraded naked by unknown armed miscreants on 4th May, 2023, a case of abduction, gangrape and murder etc was registered at Nongpok Sekmai PS (Thoubal District) against unknown armed miscreants and the investigation has been started. The State Police is making all-out effort to arrest the culprits at the earliest."
The ITLF, in a strongly-worded statement, said that two and a half months into the ethnic conflict in Manipur, evidence of atrocities committed against Kuki-Zo tribals continue to surface.
"A video which went viral on Wednesday shows a large Meitei mob parading two Kuki-Zo tribal women naked toward a paddy field to be gang-raped. The despicable scene, which happened on May 4 in Kangpokpi district, shows the men constantly molesting the helpless women, who cry and plead with their captors," ITLF spokesman Ginza Vualzong said in a statement.
He said that the gangrape of the women in B. Phainom village happened after the village was burnt down and two men – one middle-aged and another teenager – were brutally beaten to death by the mob.
The statement said that 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.
The ITLF vehemently condemns the sickening act and demands that the Central and state governments, the National Commission for Women, and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes to take cognisance of the offense and take all necessary measures to bring justice to the culprits, the statement added.
Strongly condemning the incident, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted : "The pictures of sexual violence against women coming from Manipur are heart wrenching. The amount of condemnation of this horrific incident of violence against women is less. Women and children have to bear the maximum brunt of violence in the society. We must all condemn the violence in one voice while furthering the efforts for peace in Manipur. Why is the Central Government, Prime Minister sitting blindly on the violent incidents in Manipur? Do such pictures and violent incidents not disturb them ?"
Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted: "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."
TMP chief Deb Barman tweeted : "Disturbing videos emerging from Manipur about a woman belonging to a particular community being paraded naked by a mob . There is total breakdown in the relationships of the two communities there . Hate has won in Manipur."