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20 Jul, 2023 08:24

Outrage in India over video of molested and naked women paraded in Manipur

Prime Minister Modi has broken his silence on the situation in the violence-hit state and called for law and order
Outrage in India over video of molested and naked women paraded in Manipur

A video of two women being paraded naked by a group of men in a village in Manipur, northeast India, that went viral on social media on Wednesday has shocked society and been sharply criticized by political leaders, public figures and human rights activists.  

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented Thursday for the first time on the situation in Manipur, addressing the press ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament. He stated that the incident has shamed 1.4 billion Indians and assured that “not even a single culprit will be spared.”   

The incident that has come to light in Manipur is a shameful incident for any civilized society. The entire country is shamed… all the 140 crore people are feeling ashamed due to this. I appeal to all chief ministers across the country to strengthen laws to take stringent action against crime, especially against our mothers and daughters,” PM Modi said.  He hasn’t given a broader comment on the ethnic clashes raging in the remote state for several months. 

The incident captured in the disturbing video allegedly took place on May 4 in Kangpokpi district, a day after massive violence spurred by an ethnic conflict broke out. According to Indian media, a complaint filed with the police said several women were abducted by a mob and stripped naked. The group also allegedly gang-raped the women, and killed the family members of one of them. According to The Wire, both the women from the video have claimed that the police were present at the scene, but did not help. Another report in The Print earlier this month allegedly published a detailed account of the incident from one of the women appearing in the video. 

On Thursday, a day after the two-month-old video emerged, Manipur police said one of the men seen in the content has been arrested. Chief Minister of the state, N Biren Singh announced that an investigation was underway, and strict action will be taken against all perpetrators, including the possibility of capital punishment for those who have committed rape. Meanwhile, the Indian government has requested Twitter and other social media platforms to pull down the video as the matter is under investigation, news agency ANI reported, citing sources.  

Reacting to the video on Wednesday night, Union Minister for Women and Child Development and the Minister for Minority Affairs Smriti Irani called the incident "condemnable and downright inhuman."

The opposition parties slammed the Modi-led government for not addressing the situation in Manipur and PM Modi personally for keeping silent on the violence. Stating that "humanity has died in Manipur,'' Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the Narendra Modi government and the ruling BJP party “changed Democracy and the rule of law into Mobocracy by destroying the delicate social fabric of the state.” Other Congress leaders, as well as members of parliament from several other parties strongly condemned the video, seeking the Prime Minister’s reaction. 

Manipur is in deep crisis after violence erupted in May, following protests by indigenous communities seeking tribal status, primarily the Kukis, against the demands of the dominant Meiteis community​​. The subsequent clashes have claimed over 150 lives and displaced tens of thousands of people. Earlier this month, India’s Supreme Court directed both the federal and state governments to “make sufficient arrangements to ensure protection of lives and property of all citizens and residents of Manipur.”