Thursday, February 22, 2024

Kuki women paraded naked, gang-raped amid Manipur violence; tribal body demands justice as video sparks outrage

Violence-hit Manipur saw fresh outrage this week as a video of two Kuki-Zo tribal women being paraded naked and then gang-raped by a mob, apparently Meiteis, went viral.

The video that is circulating on social media is from May 4, a day after the ongoing violence in Manipur began.

The incident was vehemently condemned by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum. The ITLF said the mob had beaten two men to death before turning against the two women.

The now viral clip shows the two women being paraded naked before a large group as they move towards a paddy field to be gang-raped. The men were seen constantly molesting the helpless women as they cried and pleaded with their captors.

“The horrifying ordeal suffered by these innocent women is amplified by the perpetrators’ decision to share the video, which shows the identity of the victims, on social media,” read ITLF release.

A zero FIR was filed by the Saikul police, in Kangpokpi district, on May 18. It was forwarded to the Nongpok Sekmai police station, The Wire reported. The Zero FIR has charges of rape and murder against “unknown miscreants” numbering “800-1,000”. The complaint filed against the incident claims that these men are suspected to be members of Meitei Youth Organisations, Meetei Leepun, Kangleipak Kanba Lup, Arambai Tenggol and World Meitei Council, Schedule Tribe Demand Committee.

“When we resisted, they told me: ‘if you don’t take off your clothes, we will kill you’,” one of the survivors told Scroll.

The woman who is her forties, said that her neighbour and his son were taken a short distance away and killed by the mob on the same day.

She said to the news website that she took off “every item of clothing” only in order to “protect herself.”

The woman said that she was then dragged to a paddy field near the road, and asked by the men to “lie down” there. “I did as they told me, and three men surrounded me… One of them told the other, ‘let’s rape her’, but ultimately they did not,” she said to Scroll.

“But they grabbed my breasts,” she said.

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