Four men have been arrested in connection with a shocking incident in the Indian state of Manipur, where two women from the minority Kuki tribe were stripped naked, publicly paraded, and allegedly gang-raped. The attack occurred in early May, but no action was taken until a video of the assault went viral, prompting nationwide outrage and condemnation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Supreme Court. Police have faced criticism for their delayed response, and more arrests are expected concerning the case.
The video shed light on the violence faced by members of the Kuki community, especially women since the ethnic conflict erupted in Manipur. The region has witnessed over 140 deaths and displaced 60,000 people, as the Meitei tribe controls the valleys, and the Kuki tribe seeks independence, controlling territories in the hills.
The two women in the video, aged 21 and 42, were fleeing after their village was attacked by a Meitei mob when they encountered another violent group that forced them to strip and subjected them to molestation and sexual assault. The mob allegedly murdered two Kuki men in their group.
This incident is not isolated, as other Kuki women have also been targeted in sexual assaults by Meitei mobs. Fake news about Kukis raping and killing Meitei women fueled the violence during the ethnic conflict.
The government’s response to the conflict has been heavily criticized, with accusations of turning a blind eye to atrocities, including beheadings and targeted assault, rape, and torture of women. The Supreme Court has demanded that the government take action to control the situation in Manipur, signalling potential consequences if they fail.
The arrest of the four men is a step towards addressing the heinous incident. Still, the situation requires further attention and intervention to bring justice and prevent future violence.