In what is being by many as an attempt to defend the delay in the arrest of the accused who paraded two Kuki women naked, Manipur CM Biren Singh announcing a probe into the incident.
Four of the main accused in the incident have been arrested so far.
The disturbing video shows two women paraded naked and molested by a mob. The women were dragged to a field and allegedly gang-raped later.
‘As there were many cases filed on different incidents that happened in the state and while the government was trying to identify the particular case, the video on the incident suddenly came to the surface,’ CM Singh told reporters at Imphal.
Singh’s statement came amid questions about why Manipur Police waited for over two month to act on the FIR lodged by the Chief of the B Phainom village on May 4.
The incident is said to have taken place then, a day after clashes broke out between the valley-majority Meitei and the hill-majority Kuki tribe in Manipur over the former’s demand for Scheduled Tribes (ST) status.
On Wednesday evening, Manipur Police claimed that efforts were underway to arrest the accused, hours after the video went viral on social media.
The clashes between sections of majority Meitei and Kuki tribe started on May 3 in the Churachandpur district, soon after a ‘solidarity march’ was organised by tribal groups opposing the move to accord ST status to the Meiteis.
Home Minister Amit Shah visited the violence hit state earlier, even as over 140 people lost their lives and paramilitary forces were deployed to contain the flare-up.
Manipur is no stranger to mob violence, with the state government even introducing a bill to curb it in recent times.
The Central government is also likely to take action against Twitter over the video which triggered waves of outrage.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has reportedly warned social media platforms on compliance with new IT rules that reiterate freedom of expression with ‘reasonable restrictions.’
The circulation of videos that ‘could lead to problems in law and order’ are not permitted under law, the government has warned.
The Supreme Court today condemned what it called the ‘deeply disturbing’ video and said the visuals showed ‘gross constitutional failure.’
The Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, asked the government to take action and also keep the court apprised about the steps being taken to ensure the safety of women in the region.
If the government didn’t act, the Supreme Court would, warned the Chief Justice, adding that the court would take up the case on July 28.
‘We are very deeply disturbed about the videos distributed yesterday. We are expressing our deep concern. It is time that the government steps and takes action. This is unacceptable,’ the Chief Justice said.
‘Manipur society is against crime against women. They consider women as their mothers. This protest is to support the government to punish the accused,’ CM Singh said, amid calls for his resignation by opposition parties.
President’s Rule has been imposed on Manipur along with a ban on internet in the state.
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