Thousands of people gathered in Manipur's Churachandpur to protest the incident.
A massive protest rally surged through the streets of Manipur's Churachandpur on Friday, following a disturbing video that captured the public humiliation and abuse of two tribal women amid the state's ethnic clashes. The video of the two-month-old incident, which surfaced a day ago, depicted the women being paraded naked and sexually assaulted by a mob, triggering widespread outrage and demands for justice.
Manipur Police announced on Thursday that they have detained one of the primary suspects visible in the 26-second footage, captured from Thoubal district. According to the officials, the accused is believed to be the mastermind behind the incident, they said.
Following the surfacing of the video, Chief Minister N Biren Singh assured the public that stringent measures would be taken against all culprits involved in this heinous act, including the possibility of capital punishment. Several police units were promptly formed to investigate the incident and ensure swift justice.
"My heart goes out to the two women who were subjected to a deeply disrespectful and inhuman act," Mr Singh tweeted on Thursday. He affirmed that a thorough investigation was underway, and no stone would be left unturned to ensure justice for the victims.
The incident, which comes against the backdrop of ongoing ethnic clashes in the region, drew condemnation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his first comments on the conflict, which has so far claimed at least 80 lives, PM Modi labelled the assault as "shameful" and promised stern action.
The turmoil in Manipur, a state of 3.2 million residents bordering Myanmar, began in early May following a court order urging the state government to contemplate extending the economic benefits and quotas enjoyed by the tribal Kuki people to the majority Meitei population. The violence had initially subsided by mid-May, but sporadic conflicts and killings resumed soon after, leaving the state in a state of unrest. The conflict has left hundreds injured and more than 40,000 displaced from their homes.
Amid this, the surfacing of the disturbing video has led to national outrage, with the authenticity of the video yet to be verified. In a parliamentary session, PM Modi expressed his anguish over the incident, stressing the need for stronger law enforcement measures across all states. "What happened to the daughters of Manipur can never be forgiven," he stated.
The Supreme Court also has expressed its profound disturbance over the incident, with Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud stating, "In a constitutional democracy it is unacceptable." The court has asked the government to apprise it of the steps taken to apprehend the perpetrators and prevent the recurrence of such incidents.