Horrific stories of women sexually assaulted amid communal clashes engender widespread outcry. As the members of the Meitei and Kuki communities are clashing over tribal rights in India’s Manipur state; incidents of crimes against women have been recorded.
The situation is escalating, which is evident from a video that emerged online allegedly showing two women from the local Kuki-Zo community who had been sexually assaulted before being paraded naked through streets. Following this video, several accusations of sexual violence against women and murder have been made.
Another incident, involving two women in their 20s who were allegedly raped and killed Imphal on May 5. In yet another incident, on May 6, a woman was allegedly stripped naked and set on fire in the district of Imphal East.
All three incidents of sexual assaults reportedly took place as violent riots broke out between the Meitei and Kuki tribes in ealry May. The attacks have riased outcry from public after the incidents were able to gain much attention on media and from authorities after a video of the first incident went viral on social media on 19 July, 2023. The reports triggered protests while the families of victims found courage to come forward and detail their experiences with authorities.
Father of one of teh vicitms who were sexually assaulted on May 5, in a complaint filed to police, maintained that the two women worked as caretakers at a carwash in the state capital, and the icident took place at thier workplace. However, the media has reported that the two women were at a rented house when a group of men entered their room and raped the pair before abducting and killing them, or whether the incident occurred at their workplace.
“I filed a complaint of rape and murder at the police station. Police have not informed me why they have not taken any action. They said they have preserved the bodies for investigation,” one of the girl’s fathers told local media at a press conference. Local police officials have been strongly criticized after reports and videos of sexual attacks on women belonging to the minority Kuki tribe emerged.