A recent video showing two Christian women being paraded naked and raped by a mob in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur has sparked outrage in India.
The video that surfaced on Wednesday shows a mob sexually assaulting naked women while parading them toward a field in Manipur, which has been hit by violent ethnic clashes.
The women belonged to the Kuki-Zo tribe, predominantly Christians, and were assaulted by men of the Hindu Meitei group.
The police said that they have registered a case of gang rape and arrested two accused, adding that others will be held soon.
The incident happened on May 4, a day after ethnic clashes broke out between the Hindu Meitei and Christian Kuki-Zo tribes in Manipur.
The video went viral after more than two months due to an internet ban in the state since May 3.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the incident had “shamed India” and “I assure the nation, the law will take its course with all its might. What happened with the daughters of Manipur can never be forgiven.”
“Any civil society should be ashamed of it. My heart is full of pain and anger,” Modi said ahead of the Indian Parliament’s monsoon session.
The chief justice of the Indian Supreme Court, DY Chandrachud, said that the court was “deeply disturbed over the video.”
Asking the government to inform the court about the steps being taken against the accused, the chief justice said, “We will take action if you don’t.”
“In a constitutional democracy, it is unacceptable,” the chief justice added.
“A thorough investigation is currently underway and we will ensure strict action is taken against all the perpetrators, including considering the possibility of capital punishment,” Manipur’s chief minister N Biren Singh, tweeted after the video went viral.
The opposition parties have slammed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government over the ethnic violence in Manipur and the recent sexual assault.
The Kuki-Zo tribe members say these words and actions are too late and accused the state and central government authorities of apathy towards the ethnic group.
The families of the two survivors said that they filed a complaint over the May 4 incident with the police on May 18. But it took the authorities more than a month to transfer the case to the police station under whose jurisdiction the crime happened.
The family said that even after the transfer no action was taken and added that the authorities acted only after the video went viral on Wednesday, Al Jazeera reported.
In a statement, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) said that the atrocities had been committed in a village in Kangpokpi district against women from the Kuki-Zo tribal community. The women had been gang raped.
“The gang rape of the women happened after the village was burnt down and two men – one middle-aged and another a teenager – were beaten to death by the mob,” the ITLF said.
It is important to mention that Manipur is governed by the Hindu nationalist BJP.
The violence between the two communities broke out over a government proposal to extend reservation in government jobs and education to the Hindu Meiteis.
Clashes between members of the majority Meitei and the minority Kuki tribal communities have resulted in the death of at least 130 people while 60,000 others have been displaced.
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