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Trigger Warning – rape, harassment and molestation

Following the recent horrific escalation in the north-eastern state of Manipur between the majority Meitei and the minority Kuki communities, a viral video of two Kuki tribal women being paraded naked, and subsequently dragged into a nearby field to be raped by a mob of men belonging to the Meiti ethnic group has sent shock waves across the nation. This incident took place on May 4th.

However, no immediate action was taken against the perpetrators. Over 70 days after the incident took place, a traumatising video of the incident went viral on social media. It is after about 24 hours of the video going viral that the Manipur police arrested a handful of the accused men. 

So far seven arrests have been made, while over 800 perpetrators roam scot-free. Some estimates even suggest that the mob consisted of 900-1000 men. The video has further intensified the violence and recent incidents of burning down houses of the accused have been reported.

In a patriarchal society, women’s bodies are inevitably used as battlegrounds for any kind of conflict. The video unveils the toxic ideology behind gender-based violence that is both made visible and perpetuated in times of ethnic conflicts, particularly affecting marginalised women.

Nevertheless, the government as well as the state’s law enforcement agencies have failed to take legitimate action despite multiple First Incidence Reports (FIRs) and reports having been filed since the onset of the violence. Several reports of manhandling children and attacks on women have also emerged from the region.

The National Commission for Women has also failed to take relevant action against the accused despite being notified twice in June. Another letter was addressed to the National Commission for Women regarding the horrendous incident of kidnapping and rape, as per the medical reports, of a child, followed by no response from the institution. 

There were numerous accusations against the government of Manipur led by Chief  Minister N Biren Singh and the delayed action of the police in the case.

The survivors, whose video was widely circulated, have further filed petitions in the Supreme court for a suo moto action against the central government and the state government of Manipur urging a fair and impartial inquiry and a plea to protect their identities. Following this, the SC has tasked the government to provide information on the 6000 FIRs filed since May, the status of legal aid to the arrested accused and the number of Section 164 statements recorded. The Supreme Court has condemned the act and stated it as a “gross constitutional failure.” 

Jhatkaa is working against the impunity with which perpetrators of sexual harassment get away and against inaction of concerned authorities. Let us come together to defend the fundamental rights of women and girls and holding the harassers accountable by signing the petition below: 

What are our demands?

Jhatkaa demands that justice and safety of women rendered vulnerable due to the violent unrest in Manipur be prioritised in the judicial process. The police officials must accelerate the rate at which FIRs against the perpetrators are registered and make sure all guilty parties are held accountable. There is a collective demand to dismiss the authorised personnel who have failed to legitimately function, deliver justice and ensure the safety of the citizens. 

The nation has failed to uphold the fundamental rights of harassed, abused, and raped women and children in Manipur. Join hands with Jhatkaa to safeguard and establish the fundamental rights of the affected groups in the violence-afflicted north-eastern state of Manipur. 

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