Manipur has suffered from ethnic clashes since early May. (File)
On the same day two tribal women were stripped, paraded and allegedly gang raped by a mob in Manipur in an incident that has triggered massive outrage, two other young women from the state's Kangpokpi district were brutally assaulted and murdered amidst a wave of ethnic violence that is yet to abate, a police complaint has said.
The victims, aged 21 and 24, were working at a car wash in the Konung Mamang area of the Imphal East district, around 40 kilometres away from the site of the other incident, when they were targeted by a mob on May 4, the family of one of the women said.
The two women at the car wash were reportedly assaulted by a large group of men, accompanied by some women. A male co-worker, who witnessed the incident, told The Times of India that the women in the mob encouraged the men to take the victims inside a room and sexually assault them.
The victims were dragged into the room, the lights were switched off, and they were gagged with clothes to prevent them from screaming. After enduring this horrific ordeal for about one-and-a-half hours, the victims were dragged outside and dumped next to a sawmill in the vicinity. Their clothes were torn, their hair chopped off, and their bodies were covered in blood.
The identities of the victims were initially not reported due to the fear of stigma associated with sexual assault. However, the mother of one of the victims mustered the courage to file a Zero FIR at Saikul police station on May 16th, The Indian Express reported.
The FIR, which stated that her daughter and the other woman were "brutally murdered after being raped and gruesomely tortured," was later transferred to Porompat police station in Imphal East district. NDTV has seen a copy of the FIR.
"Their dead bodies are not yet recovered, and their whereabouts are also not known till date," the police complaint read, putting the number of assailants at about 100-200.
It was at the same police station that another FIR was registered concerning the alleged abduction, rape, and murder of the two women whose horrific ordeal was recorded on video and has triggered nationwide anger.
Police sources have confirmed that no arrests have been made in this case so far. The Manipur police are currently examining thousands of complaints related to various crimes, including weapon looting, arson, killings, and assaults on women.
The incidents have also been flagged to the National Commission for Women in a complaint by two activists and the North American Manipur Tribal Association.
They are the latest tale of horror to emerge from the state, where at least 125 people have been killed and more than 40,000 displaced since the violence erupted on May 3.
The clashes in the state bordering Myanmar began when the Kuki tribal group clashed with a non-tribal group, the ethnic majority Meitei, over sharing economic benefits and quotas given to the tribes.
The trouble appeared to subside after the central government rushed thousands of paramilitary and army troops to the state of 32 lakh people, but sporadic violence and killings resumed soon afterwards and the state has remained tense since.