Outrage and Calls for Action in India as Shocking Video Exposes Brutal Assaults in Manipur Amid Ongoing Conflict
New Delhi — A disturbing video capturing acts of extreme violence against two women in Manipur has sparked nationwide outrage and condemnation, shedding light on the ongoing ethnic conflict that has gripped the remote state. The video, which went viral despite internet restrictions, shows two naked women surrounded by a group of young men who sexually assault and drag them to a field.
The Manipur conflict has been escalating into what some describe as near-civil war, claiming over 130 lives since May. The root cause of the violence can be traced back to an affirmative action controversy, with Christian Kukis protesting a demand from the mostly Hindu Meiteis for a special status, enabling them to acquire land in the hilly regions populated by Kukis and other tribal groups, as well as securing a share of government jobs.
In response to the horrific video, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his deep concern, vowing that those responsible for the assault will face severe consequences. He urged state governments to prioritize the safety and security of women, deeming the incident as “shameful for any civilized nation.”
The assault on the two women occurred on May 4, just one day after the violence erupted in the state. According to a police complaint filed on May 18, the women were part of a family attacked by a violent mob, leading to the death of two male family members. The complaint alleges rape and murder committed by “unknown miscreants.”
Following public outcry and pressure, Manipur’s Chief Minister Biren Singh announced the first arrest in connection with the case, although specific details were not disclosed. The state police are conducting a thorough investigation, and Chief Minister Singh has assured the public that strict action will be taken against all perpetrators, including considering the possibility of capital punishment.
India’s Supreme Court has also expressed concern over the incident and demanded that the government report on the actions taken to apprehend the accused. Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud stated that such acts are unacceptable in a constitutional democracy and warned that the court would intervene if necessary.
The two victims, members of the Kuki-Zo community, are currently safe in a refugee camp, according to the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum, a tribal organization in Manipur.
In response to the outrage, India’s Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani labeled the incident as “condemnable and downright inhuman.” She assured the public that investigations are underway, and no effort will be spared to bring the perpetrators to justice.
However, the main opposition Congress party president, Mallikarjun Kharge, accused the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of promoting “mobocracy” instead of upholding democracy and the rule of law. He called on Prime Minister Modi to address the issue of Manipur in Parliament, a demand echoed by other opposition parties and human rights activists.
The international community has also voiced its concern over the escalating violence in Manipur. Last week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution urging Indian authorities to take decisive action to quell the violence and protect religious minorities, especially Christians. In response, India’s foreign ministry condemned the resolution, dismissing it as an interference in the country’s internal affairs.
As the investigations continue and pressure mounts on the government to act swiftly, the nation waits for justice to be served and for an end to the ongoing conflict that has inflicted suffering on countless lives in Manipur.