It’s been more than 70 days, and Manipur is still burning. In Manipur, a northeastern state of India, communal tensions have escalated, leading to devastating consequences for its communities. The recent incident involving the assault on two Kuki women, members of a minority Christian tribe, has shocked the nation. The violent act, which occurred on May 4th, was captured on video and widely circulated on social media, raising concerns about the authorities handling the situation.
The disturbing video shows the women subjected to continuous harassment by men from the majority Meitei Christian tribe. The women were left helpless and vulnerable despite their pleas for mercy and help. They were paraded naked, touched and one of them allegedly gang raped.
The FIR, filed as a Zero FIR on May 18, carries charges of rape and murder against “unknown miscreants.” Numbering between 800 to 1,000, suspected members of Meitei Youth Organizations. The incident allegedly took place in B Phainom village, where the mob targeted a group of five people. Including two men and three women from the Kuki community, who were attempting to flee the violence.
The situation turned into a horrifying tragedy as the mob immediately killed one of the men. Subsequently, the women in the group were forced to strip. One of them, in her 20s, was subjected to a brutal gang rape. Tragically, the brother of the assaulted woman tried to intervene, but he too fell victim to the mob’s violence. The gravity of the incident has drawn widespread condemnation and highlights the urgent need for justice and protection for the survivors.
The root of the ongoing violence lies in clashes between the majority Meitei community and the Kuki community. These tensions erupted after tribal groups protested against the demand to grant Scheduled Tribe status to the Meitei community. As a result of the prolonged violence, the death toll has reached at least 140. While many more have been injured, and nearly 50,000 people have been displaced.
A reminder of Nazi- Germany
Meanwhile, the harrowing experiences endured by these women and the long-standing communal violence in Manipur prompt comparisons to dark chapters in history. Notably the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. During that tragic period, six million Jews lost their lives, with two million of them being women. From 1941 to 1945, Jewish women faced imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps or lived in hiding to evade capture by Adolf Hitler’s regime. While, they were subjected to sexual harassment, rape, verbal abuse, and physical beatings.