"If you don’t take off your clothes, we will kill you."
In violence-hit Manipur, two women were paraded naked by a mob.
A case has reportedly been registered against “800-1,000 unknown miscreants”.
Violence between the Kuki and Meiteis ethnic groups have been going on since May 3, 2023. It was sparked by resentment over economic benefits and quotas in government jobs and education reserved for hill people.
According to the European Parliament, the violence has “left at least 120 people dead, 50,000 displaced and over 1,700 houses and 250 churches destroyed” in Manipur, which is governed by the BJP.
Disturbing footage online shows “scores of young men can be seen walking alongside [them] as other men drag the distressed-looking women into the fields”.
One woman said the incident actually happened on May 4, a day after clashes erupted.
The woman said she and her family, among others, were escaping after hearing Meitei mobs were “burning homes” in a nearby village.
However, a mob found them.
One of her neighbours and his son were killed. The mob also women, asked them to strip.
The woman said: “When we resisted, they told me: ‘If you don’t take off your clothes, we will kill you’.”
She took off “every item of clothing” in order to “protect herself”. Meanwhile, the men slapped and punched her.
The woman was dragged to a field and ordered to “lie down”.
She continued: “I did as they told me, and three men surrounded me… One of them told the other, ‘let’s rape her’, but ultimately they did not.”
According to a police complaint, one woman was gang-raped during the incident.
An FIR was registered in Saikul Police Station on May 18.
Stating that rape and murder charges were registered, the FIR stated:
“The particular incident, according to the complaint, involves five residents of the village who were fleeing ‘towards the forest’ to save themselves.
“The group comprised two men and three women. Three of them belonged to the same family: a 56-year-old man, his 19-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter.
“Two other women, one 42 years old and the other aged 52, were also part of the group.”
According to the FIR, these five individuals were “rescued” by a team from the Nongpok Sekmai police station.
They were then “blocked on the way by a mob and snatched from the custody of the police team by the violent mob near Toubu”.
Reportedly, the mob immediately killed the man after “all the three women were physically forced to remove their clothes and were stripped naked in front of the mob”.
The 21-year-old woman was “brutally gang raped in broad daylight” while the other two women “managed to escape from the spot with the help of some people of the area who were known to them”.
The 19-year-old man tried to defend his sister but was “murdered by members of the mob on the spot”.
It is reported that the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum demanded that the central and state governments, National Commission for Women and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes “take cognisance of the offence and bring the culprits before the law”.
Members of the Kuki tribe are also planning to carry out a protest march in Manipur on July 20, 2023.