Manipur violence: The police have said an investigation is underway in the incident.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh declared on Thursday that strict action, including possible capital punishment, will be taken following a meticulous investigation into a shocking incident where two women were paraded naked and allegedly gang raped in the state over two months ago amid the ongoing ethnic clashes.
"A thorough investigation is currently underway, and we will ensure strict action is taken against all the perpetrators, including considering the possibility of capital punishment. Let it be known, there is absolutely no place for such heinous acts in our society," he said amid widespread outrage.
The incident came to light on Wednesday when a distressing video from May 4 surfaced, purportedly showing two women being stripped and paraded naked by men from the rival community. This revelation sparked rising tension in the Manipur hills, on the eve of a protest march by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) to underscore their circumstances.
"My hearts go out to the two women who were subjected to a deeply disrespectful and inhumane act," said the Manipur Chief Minister on Twitter. "After taking suo motu cognizance of the incident immediately after the video surfaced, the Manipur Police swung into action and made the first arrest this morning."
The police in the BJP-ruled state have registered a case of kidnapping, gang rape, and murder at the Nongpok Sekmai police station in Thoubal district against unknown armed individuals.
Officials said that several police teams were formed immediately after the video of the incident surfaced on Wednesday and one person, alleged to be the mastermind, was arrested from Thoubal district, officials said.
The incident has drawn national attention, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing the sexual assault as "shameful" and calling on state governments to ensure women's safety. "Any civil society should be ashamed by it," PM Modi remarked ahead of a parliament session.
The incident has inflamed an already volatile situation in Manipur, where ethnic clashes since early May have led to at least 80 deaths and over 40,000 people displaced from their homes.
The Supreme Court also expressed deep concern over the incident, with Chief Justice DY Chandrachud stating that such crimes are unacceptable in a constitutional democracy. The court demanded the government inform them of the measures taken to apprehend the perpetrators and prevent similar incidents.