‘Why PM Modi is Silent on Agony Faced by People in Manipur’- Ask Activists during a Protest

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‘Why PM Narendra Modi is SILENT on the Agony Faced by People in Manipur’- Ask Like-Minded Activists from various organizations during a Protest held at Clock Tower, Mangaluru to raise their voices against the atrocities, especially recent faced by the Kuki women in Manipur, where two innocent women were paraded naked and tortured in front of the public
Mangaluru: Before going further into this report of the protest held in Mangaluru, I want to highlight the point, that our President of India is from a tribal community and yet our tribal women are not safe in India. How about that! The mob of men in Manipur who stripped, paraded and sexually assaulted two Kuki women need to be punished severely, no matter what. A viral video has shaken our collective consciousness. It took mass outrage for the government to break its silence. Looks like our system is truly broken.

A despicable video of the horrifying incident has gone viral. This tragedy took place in B Phenom village in Kangpokpi district of Manipur but the rest of India was clueless and even though the police did make arrests, however, every single member of the centre and state governments remained silent. The system is truly broken! The viral video has shaken the collective consciousness of most citizens, much like the Nirbhaya case did 11 years ago. Because of this only now has the government machinery woken up.

And in support of the Manipur women who have been atrocities a few local like-minded organizations held a protest near Clock Tower, Mangaluru to show their full support for the assault, torture, and hardships faced under the ruling government in their times of need, With the strong decision, it’s high time we stand with our fellow Indians in Manipur who have been facing ethnic violence for over months raise our voices for justice. 160 people have reportedly been killed and thousands have been displaced. It won’t stop if we remain silent. A viral video from the Indian state of Manipur, showing dozens of men parading and assaulting two women who have been stripped naked, has triggered outrage in the country.

The Speakers during the protest expressed their anger and urged that the Central government take stern action against the culprits and deliver justice to the innocent women. The speakers were Sunil Kumar Bajal, General Secretary CITU; Ramanath Rai, Ex-Minister, Govt of Karnataka and President Secular like-minded organisations Roy Castelino, President, Mother Teresa Vichara Vedike; Muneer Katipalla, State President DYFI; Sunny D’Souza, President, Raitha Sangha; Ms Gretta Pinto, President, Catholic Women’s Organisation, Mangalore Diocese; B Shekar, President, District Secretary CPI; and Ms Shalet Pinto, District President Congress Women’s Wing, among others.

The 26-second video shows the group of men – some appearing to be as young as 15 – groping and sexually attacking the women belonging to the ethnic Kuki-Zo tribe, and escorting them towards an empty field. At least one of the women, aged 21, was gang raped, according to the first information filed in FIR. The Meiteis, who constitute more than half of Manipur’s 3.5 million population, mainly live in the capital Imphal and the prosperous valley around it, while the Kuki-Zo and Naga tribes live in the surrounding hill districts. At least 130 people – most of them Kuki-Zo – have been killed and more than 50,000 displaced since clashes between the two communities broke out over a proposal to extend reservation in government jobs and education to the Meiteis.

Sadly, the video emerged after more than two months due to an internet ban in Manipur from 3 May 2023– a move that has been widely criticised by rights activists in India. Breaking his two-month silence on the Manipur violence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said the incident had filled his heart with grief and anger. “Any civil society should be ashamed of it,” he said ahead of a parliament session where the opposition members demanded a statement from Modi on Manipur. Did the PM really mean it or was it just fooling people- is what many question?

Even India’s Supreme Court said it was deeply disturbed by the viral video and asked the state and federal governments to inform the top court of the steps taken to catch the perpetrators. “In a constitutional democracy, it is unacceptable,” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said. Thanks to the video, we are trying to identify the miscreants,” he said. But Kuki-Zo families in Manipur say these words and actions are too late and accuse the authorities – both in the state and at the centre – of indifference towards their plight.

Even after the incident took place long ago, action was taken by the authorities only after the video went viral a couple of days ago. Even as the video of two Kuki-Zo rape survivors being paraded naked by a Meitei mob in Manipur has shocked and deeply touched the conscience of the nation, there are deeper questions that need to be asked. It is learnt that even after the survivors filed a zero FIR on 18 May 2023 when the incident happened on 4 May – but the police station concerned registered the case only on 21 May. Only after the video became viral did the Chief Minister of Manipur promise action on 19 July.

One of the women is a 21-year-old BA student and the other is a 40-year-old married woman. The two women somehow survived though the father and brother of the younger survivor in the video were killed on the same day. The fact that the incident occurred in a Kuki village in Kangpokpi district speaks volumes about the nature of this ongoing Meitei-Kuki conflict. Outrage has erupted across India after footage was circulated from Manipur of two women from the minority Kuki tribe being forcibly stripped naked by a mob of the majority Meitei tribal group who can be heard shouting: “If you don’t take off your clothes, we’ll kill you.” The women are then publicly groped and dragged to a field, where it is alleged they were gang raped. However, PM Modi has been criticised for remaining publicly silent on the conflict, which broke out between the tribal communities in early May and has since killed more than 140 people, mostly those from the minority Kuki community. The video also attracted fierce criticism from the supreme court, which called it “deeply disturbing” and a “gross constitutional failure”.

The chief justice of India, Dhananjaya Chandrachud, appeared to criticise the government for failing to bring the situation in Manipur under control. “I think it’s time that the government steps in and takes action because this is simply unacceptable,” he said, adding that if the government did not act, the supreme court would step in. Other ministers from Modi’s government also condemned the incident. Smriti Irani, the minister for women, called it “downright inhuman” and said the perpetrators would be brought to justice.

No matter what, “It is shameful that it takes a searing video of two Kuki women being paraded naked and raped to shake the conscience of the world and make people believe what we have been saying for the past 70 days,”. Action is needed for a change to bring peace and harmony in the city Let’s hope for a change and peace in India as soon as possible.

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