A disturbing viral video has emerged from the Indian state of Manipur, sparking anger and protests nationwide. The distressing 26-second clip shows numerous men, some appearing as young as 15, parading and assaulting two women who have been stripped naked. These women belong to the ethnic Kuki-Zo tribe.
In the video, the men are seen groping and sexually attacking the helpless women, forcibly leading them toward an empty field. Tragically, according to the survivors’ first information report (FIR) filed with the police, at least one of the women, aged 21, was subjected to gang rape. The other woman was reported to be 42 years old.
This horrifying incident took place on May 4, shortly after violent ethnic riots erupted between the predominantly Hindu Meitei and Christian Kuki-Zo tribes in the remote state of Manipur, situated in India’s northeast. The state is governed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Meiteis, comprising over half of Manipur’s 3.5 million population, primarily reside in the capital city of Imphal and the prosperous surrounding valley. In contrast, the Kuki-Zo and Naga tribes inhabit the adjacent hill districts.
The ethnic clashes between the two communities have resulted in significant loss of life and displacement. The toll stands at least 130 people killed, with the majority being Kuki-Zo, and over 50,000 people displaced. These clashes emerged due to tensions over a proposal to extend reservation in government jobs and education to the Meiteis. The situation has brought immense grief and concern across the nation.
The video finally came to light over two months later because of an internet ban imposed in Manipur on May 3. This restriction faced significant criticism from rights activists in India. Breaking his silence on the Manipur violence after this prolonged period, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his emotions on Thursday, stating that the incident had deeply saddened and angered him.
In response to the demand from opposition members during a parliament session for a statement on Manipur, Prime Minister Modi asserted, “Any civil society should be ashamed by it.” The incident has drawn widespread condemnation and raised urgent calls for action against such heinous acts.