“Main Suspect’s House Set Ablaze by Angry Women as Prime Minister Condemns the Shocking Incident” (Manipur)
New Delhi, July 21 (City Times): Women in Manipur, a northeastern state of India, took matters into their own hands and attacked the house of the main suspect in a horrifying sexual assault case that has ignited fury across the nation, according to state police reports on Friday.
The heinous incident, which occurred over two months ago, involved the suspect dragging two tribal women onto the streets and inciting a mob to rape and parade them naked, as disclosed by the police.
The case garnered national attention this week after a video of the assault went viral on social media, causing widespread unrest in Manipur.
Prompted by public outcry and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s condemnation of the incident as “shameful,” the main suspect, a resident of Manipur, was arrested within hours of Modi’s statement. Additionally, three others have been arrested, while the police continue to trace at least 30 more individuals involved in the crime.
Fuelled by Rage: Women’s Protest and Police Response
In the aftermath of the suspect’s arrest, a wave of anger surged through the hearts of local women, who vented their frustration by pelting stones at the accused’s residence and igniting certain portions of it in a village. Hemant Pandey, a respected senior police official in Imphal, witnessed the intensity of their emotions and closely monitored the situation to ensure peace and safety in the area. The police acknowledged the women’s anger and urged them to protest peacefully amidst the intense unease.
The Alarming Incident and its Aftermath
The police complaint, filed in May, highlighted that the incident occurred in Kangpokpi district, where an armed mob vandalized and burnt several houses belonging to the Kuki tribe. Subsequently, they attacked members of the tribe and sexually assaulted two women, aged 21 and 19, parading them naked.
In the tumultuous month of May, amidst escalating ethnic tensions in the state, the victims bravely stepped forward to report the harrowing assault. The simmering clashes were set ablaze by a court directive, urging the government to deliberate on extending exclusive privileges, hitherto enjoyed by the tribal Kuki community, to the larger Meitei population as well.
The violence during the clashes resulted in at least 125 deaths and over 40,000 people being displaced from their homes.
Demands for Justice and Swift Investigations
Rights groups in various parts of India organized protests to demand justice for the victims and swift investigations into the case. They questioned the police’s delay in taking action despite being aware of the sexual assault. (manipur)
Radhika Burman, a student in Kolkata, led a public demonstration expressing the need for accountability. Demonstrators in Bengaluru marched, holding banners that read “Women’s body is not a battlefield,” and raised concerns over the authorities’ failure to investigate the case registered by the minority tribal community victims in May. (manipur)
National Protests and Modi’s Response
Protests erupted in several cities, including Bhubaneswar and college campuses, with activists demanding justice and an end to the neglect of such cases.
Prime Minister Modi, who had previously remained silent on the issue, finally spoke out against the incident after videos of the women being molested circulated online. His statement came a day after the shocking videos went viral.
As the nation grapples with the aftermath of this disturbing incident, questions about the safety and security of women in India continue to be raised, urging authorities to take urgent measures to address these concerns. (manipur)