Manipur has been gripped by a series of heinous crimes against women since May 3, coinciding with the outbreak of ethnic violence. Disturbing incidents, including the disrobing and parading of women, one of whom was raped have recently surfaced. On May 6, a 45-year-old woman was stripped and set ablaze in Imphal East, further adding to the growing atrocities against women in the region. Amidst this grim situation, a photo of the charred body of the victim has emerged on social media, sparking outrage and calls for justice.
According to a report in The Hindu, Thianna Vaiphei Sauntak, a pastor at Pheitaiching village, came across the semi-charred body of the 45-year-old victim on May 7. The tragic incident occurred a day after a large mob attacked the village, leaving devastation in its wake. The woman, a mother of two, was found half-burnt and unclothed. The pastor, under army protection, discovered the gruesome scene, recalling the terrifying ordeal that unfolded during the attack.
The pastor claimed that armed men wearing black shirts led the violent mob that descended upon the village. Shockingly, Manipur Police commandos allegedly accompanied the attackers, raising concerns about potential complicity and the failure to protect innocent civilians.
In a statement released by 10 Manipur legislators from the Kuki-Zo community, including seven from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), additional instances of violence against women belonging to their community were mentioned. The statement highlighted at least four other incidents of rape or murder since the outbreak of ethnic violence on May 3.
Another zero FIR, filed in Kangpokpi, reported the rape, torture and murder of two women in Imphal East on May 4. The women worked at a car washing centre in the area. According to the FIR filed by one of the victim’s mothers, around 100 to 200 people mobbed their rented house near Konung Mamang, subjecting the women to brutal torture and eventually killing them. The bodies of the victims have yet to be recovered, adding to the heartache and distress experienced by their families.
The ethnic violence between the Kuki and Meitei communities has wreaked havoc in Manipur, leading to over 140 fatalities and displacing more than 54,000 people. The conflict has further heightened tensions and contributed to the vulnerability of women in the region, making them targets of horrific crimes.