After a disturbingly graphic video of sexual violence against women who were allegedly gang-raped and paraded naked on the road by a group of men in India’s Manipur surfaced on social media, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came under fire on Wednesday over its failure to curb violence in the state.
The incident occurred two months ago on May 4 in Kangpokpi district, some 35km from the state capital Imphal, according to a tribal organisation.
These women were merely two of the victims of ethnic and communal clashes that broke out in the violence-hit region in early May that have led to the deaths of at least 80 people and forced more than 40,000 to flee their homes.
State police have made the first arrest in the case, Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh said on Twitter, without specifying how many people were arrested.
“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,” Singh said.
The Indian Supreme Court said it was deeply disturbed by the images and asked the government to inform the court of the steps taken to apprehend the perpetrators and ensure such incidents were not repeated.
“In a constitutional democracy it is unacceptable,” said Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.
Meanwhile, Indian PM Narendra Modi said the incident had filled his heart with grief and anger.
“Any civil society should be ashamed by it,” he said ahead of a parliament session.
Manipur incident condemned
Political leaders and others have expressed shock over the Manipur incident, demanding prompt action on the gruesome incident.
1. Ultimate victims
Taking to Twitter, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that pictures of sexual violence against women coming from Manipur are heart-wrenching.
“The amount of condemnation of this horrific incident of violence against women is less. Women and children have to bear the maximum brunt of violence in the society,” she tweeted.
Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, Tripura’s Tipra Motha Party chief, lamented that hate has won in Manipur.
2. ‘Downright inhuman’
“Disturbing videos emerging from Manipur about a woman belonging to a particular community being paraded naked by a mob. There is total breakdown in the relationships of the two communities there.
Terming the incident “horrific”, Indian minister Smriti Irani said the video of the sexual assault emanating from Manipur is condemnable and downright inhuman.