An 18-year-old woman from the Kuki community in Manipur, who was subjected to a horrifying ordeal of abduction, assault, and gang-rape, came forward to report the incident to the police on July 21. The incident took place in Imphal East, on May 15, and the survivor, who was in a critical condition, sought refuge at a hospital in the neighboring state of Nagaland.
According to The Hindu‘s accessed copy of the First Information Report (FIR), the woman recounted the harrowing details of her abduction. She claimed that she was handed over to four armed Meitei men wearing black clothes by a group of Meitei women identified as “Meira Paibis” or “Mothers of Manipur.”
The survivor approached the Kangpokpi police on Friday, prompting the registration of a zero FIR. Such FIRs are filed irrespective of jurisdiction and, subsequently, the case was transferred to the Imphal East station, as confirmed by a police source to The Hindu on Saturday.
The FIR further stated that on the fateful day, the perpetrators abducted her in a purple car and took her to Wangkhei Ayangpali, where they subjected her to physical abuse. Later, they summoned the Meira Paibis and local men, who took turns assaulting her. Disturbingly, the FIR revealed that one of the women present among the mob ordered the men to kill her.
“Then they called Meira Paibis and several local men who took turns in slapping and punching me. Then I heard one of the ladies saying that we must call ‘Arambai Tengol’. Then 4 four arrived in black shirt with some logos on their back and all of them were carrying guns,” she said in the compliant.
The four men drove the survivor to a hilltop location with intentions to murder her. However, she pleaded for her life, promising not to return to Imphal and expressing her desire to see her parents again. Eventually, the men decided to rape her before potentially ending her life.
“I even promised them that I will never return to Imphal, just let me go; I want to meet my parents. Then they put me in car again and they drove me around to look for a better location to kill me. After driving around for a while, they stopped the car again in hilly top area. They dragged me out of the car and starting physically assaulting me by kicking, slapping, punching etc. One of the blows on my face with the butt of the gun was so hard that I blacked out for a while. My eyes opened when I felt drizzle of rain on my face,” she said.
She added: “By this time my ears, face and head were bleeding really bad to the extent that my clothes and face were drenched in blood. Then there was this argument between the three men who raped me and the one who did not, that I should be killed… They said that if we let you go then you will go to police to file FIR but be rest assured if you go to police, we will find you and kill you. While they were arguing on whether to let me go or kill me; one of them was trying to turn the car around and by accident it hit me and I fell off the creek from that hilltop.”
The survivor recounted the relentless brutality she endured, including being hit with the butt of a gun, losing consciousness, and being physically assaulted until she was drenched in her own blood.
Eventually, an accidental car collision allowed her to escape the immediate danger, and she found herself on a road where she sought help from an autorickshaw driver.
In her bloodied and traumatized state, the driver, moved by compassion, took her to Bishnupur Police Station, where she overheard concerns about the police personnel belonging to the Meitei community. Fearful of potential biases, she implored the driver to take her home to the New Lambulane area. Subsequently, on May 16, she left Imphal at 4.30 am, eventually reaching Sapormeina. Due to her critical condition, she was later referred to Kohima Hospital for medical treatment.
The incident comes amidst a series of reported cases of sexual violence against Kuki women in Manipur since ethnic tensions between the tribal Kuki and the majority Meitei communities escalated on May 3.