New Delhi, July 21:
North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) activists today participated in a protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar against the heart-wrenching incident of gangrape and murder in Manipur. Common people, students, activists and progressive organizations from different communities in the Northeast as well as from across India participated in the protest demonstration. NEFIS condemns the incident in the strongest terms and demands that Manipur Chief Minister taking responsibility for failing to protect women in the state should immediately resign.
“It should be noted that a very disturbing video surfaced recently of two women being paraded naked on a road, while a mob of men abuse and grope them. They are led to a field, wherein as per reports, one of the women was brutally raped. This incident happened on May 4 in Thoubal district. Later, on May 18, an FIR was filed in Kangpokpi district. As per the complaint which was filed a group of 5 people which included two men, and three women were trying to reach a police station for protection after a mob of 800-1000 men entered their village carrying sophisticated weapons. A police team had rescued them. However, the mob wrested them from the police. The mob killed the men and the women were stripped naked and paraded on a road. The youngest in the group was gangraped. Later, some people who knew the survivors rescued them from the mob”, a statement of the forum said.
It added that this heinous incident has shaken and shamed the entire country. The callous disregard for the dignity of human life is sickening. It speaks of the impunity enjoyed by the chauvinist elements that are stoking communal riots and perpetrating violence against women and children. In fact, many more such incidents have been reported, but the violence, especially sexual violence against women and children, continues in the state. Moreover, it is women who have been chiefly targeted by chauvinist elements during the present crisis in Manipur. Violence against women has been instrumentalised by miscreants and communal groups that have sought revenge for incidents of violence faced by their respective communities by targeting those, especially women, who are unconnected to the acts of violence. A vicious, never-ending cycle of vengeful violence continues to erupt in the state with the continued failure of the state government to act against such miscreants.
It is particularly shameful that arrests in the case have happened now, despite the FIR being filed two months back. The police administration was forced to appear active when it received negative press coverage. It only highlights the criminal apathy of police officials regarding such cases of sexual violence against women.
NEFIS demanded the Supreme Court of India to take cognizance of the incidents of violence against women and children, and issue directions to the state government to immediately arrest all the culprits stoking communal riots and violence against women. The Hon’ble Supreme Court should also ensure that all measures are taken to bring justice and peace to the whole state.