NEW DELHI: One of the two Manipuri women, who were assaulted, groped and paraded naked by a violent mob at a village in Senapati district on May 4 – the video of the extremely shocking incident which went viral on social media triggering national outrage – has given spine-chilling details of the unfortunate incident that unfolded on that day.
Recalling her ordeal, the 40-year-old woman who is currently staying in a refugee camp in Churachandpur, told reporters that her village was attacked by a violent mob on May 3 – the day ethnic clashes broke out in protest against the Manipur High Court’s recommendation to the state government to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the Meiteis. On the same day, the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) held a rally to oppose the move, which further fanned the anger and resentment among the two communities – Meiteis and Kukis.
‘Take Off Your Clothes Otherwise, We Will Kill You’
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The woman further recalled that after hearing that Meitei mobs were “burning homes” in a nearby village, how she and the other survivor’s family escaped through the jungle to save themselves the very next day – May 4. The woman said that in the morning, she sent her four children to take shelter in a Naga village, not too far from her village in Kangpokpi district. She and her husband and eight others then hid in the nearby forest to save themselves. But, unfortunately, they were intercepted by a Meitei mob.
She recounted how they were divided into two groups and that she and the other woman – seen in the viral video – were taken towards the main road along with her brother and father.
Groped, Punched And Kicked By The Men In Mob
The woman in her 40s recalled that the mob burned all their stuff and then dragged them towards the main road. They were punched, kicked, and groped by the men who tore their clothes and grabbed their breasts. In between, the other woman and her younger brother hid themselves in a police jeep parked on the main road. However, they could not escape the ferocious mob. She further said that there were two policemen and a driver but did nothing to help them. Getting a free hand from the policemen, the mob then lynched the younger girl’s father and brother out of anger and threw their bodies in a drain.
The mob then turned to the two women and forced them to strip, dragging them to a paddy field on the side of the road. This was when the entire incident was recorded by someone in the mob – the video which has now become viral.
The elder woman further said the “Meitei mob” threatened to kill her if she didn’t take off her clothes. “When we resisted, they said, ‘If you don’t take off your clothes, we will kill you’.”
Recalling the horror, the woman said, “We did whatever we were told in order to save ourselves. I begged them to leave me. I told them I am a mother, but they showed no mercy’’
National Outrage Over Manipur Incident
A video of the horrific incident went viral on social media after which the Biren Singh government swung into action. The Manipur Police have so far arrested 4 people in connection with the incident and efforts are on to arrest other culprits.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Thursday said that four culprits who were involved in the alleged sexual assault and disrobing of two women by a mob at a village in Senapati district on May 4 have been arrested in “less than 24 hours’’ after a video of the shocking incident went viral on social media. The CM said that all efforts are on to arrest the other culprits who were part of the mob that attacked the two women, disrobed them and gang-raped one of them on May 4. “It’s a crime against humanity, will not spare anyone: CM N Biren Singh said while addressing a press conference on the shocking Manipur incident.
In a major breakthrough earlier, the Manipur Police arrested one of the main accused who was seen in the viral video showing two tribal women being paraded naked and molested by a violent mob at a village in Senapati district on May 4.
The accused, identified as Huirem Herodas (32), was seen in the 26-second clip that went viral on social media, the Manipur police said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that a case of abduction, gang rape, and murder had been registered at Nongpok Sekmai police station in Thoubal against unknown armed miscreants.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh assured that he will ensure strict action is taken against all the perpetrators, including considering the possibility of capital punishment. The video of the shocking crime surfaced on Wednesday. Several police teams were formed immediately and one person, alleged to be the mastermind, was arrested from the Thoubal district.
The Chief Minister said that after taking suo-moto cognisance of the incident, the police swung into action and made the first arrest in the morning. “My heart goes out to the two women who were subjected to a deeply disrespectful and inhuman act, as shown in the distressing video that surfaced yesterday,” Singh tweeted.
Abduction, Gang-Rape And Murder Case Registered
For the unversed, a May 4 video of two Manipuri women being paraded naked and sexually assaulted by a violent mob in riots-hit Manipur’s Senapati district went viral on social media on Wednesday, triggering national outrage, strong condemnation from all quarters and demands for stringent punishment for the culprits.
According to a senior police official, the shocking and shameful incident took place on May 4 in Manipur’s Thoubal district and a case of abduction, gang rape and murder has been registered in the matter. Superintendent of Police (SP), K Meghachandra Singh in a statement on July 19 said: “As regards the video of 2 (two) women paraded naked by unknown armed miscreants on 4th May 2023, a case of abduction, gangrape and murder was registered at Nongpok Sekmai Police Station (Thoubal district) against unknown armed miscreants.” The distressing footage of the May 4 incident shows two women being stripped naked and subjected to continuous harassment by a group of individuals from another community in Manipur. Despite the victims’ desperate pleas for mercy and help, the perpetrators callously disregarded their dignity, leaving the entire nation appalled.
No One Will Be Spared: PM Modi
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this morning said he is pained over the incident and said the incident is “shameful for any civil society.” “No accused will be spared, we will never forgive those who are behind this,” the Prime Minister said.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the Monsoon session of the Parliament today, PM Modi said, “This a shameful incident for any society. who did this and who is responsible is another issue but this has put our nation to shame. I appeal to all chief ministers to tighten law and order. Whether it is Rajasthan, Chattisgarh or Manipur…the issue of a woman’s honour is above all politics.”
Supreme Court Takes Suo Motu Cognisance
The Supreme Court, upon witnessing the appalling Manipur viral naked parade video, has taken suo motu cognisance of the matter. Chief Justice of India (CJI) expressed grave concern over the incident and stated that the court must be informed about the measures taken by the government to ensure justice for the victims. The court has called upon both the central and state governments to apprise it of the actions taken to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Manipur has been witnessing violence since May 3, following the protests by the Kuki and Naga communities against the High Court’s order asking the state government to consider the inclusion of the Meitei community in the category of Scheduled Tribes (ST). Only STs can buy lands in hilly areas.
The majority Meitei community, which occupies the Imphal valley and nearby areas, sought the ST status keeping in view their increasing population and increased requirement of land, so that they could purchase lands in the hilly areas.
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