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The Manipur Files

"How are we, as a democratic country, so silent and ignorant? Is it because we are invisible to you, or because you are in favour of what is happening, or is it because you don't care any more?"

A Guest Speaker giving an interview to a news agency

Crimes have been in the world since the realisation of civil societies. We have already failed as a civilisation if we fail to limit these crimes, but we would have failed twice if we ignore these evil acts and let them happen. Something similar is happening in the state of Manipur. The Jewel State of India is burning with a string of lost lives, broken homes, estranged families and a whole narrative of fear, loss, trauma and sorrow. We cannot fathom the pain of a people who have been marred by so much loss and sorrow, at a time when they are perpetually being ignored and their narrative being wiped out of history. Here we look at what led to this outrage, and the sense of community brought about it to national interest.


A day before parliament's Monsoon meeting, a video of Kuki women being marched stripped and physically attacked by a horde became a web sensation. The women attested that the mob had an association with the Meitei.


On July 22, 2023, a protest was held at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, to raise awareness and demand justice for the case of abduction, gang rape, and sexual assault of three Kuki-Zo women in Manipur. A few groups in support of the Kuki people held a demonstration at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Saturday, requesting the Meiteis to end the brutality and reestablish harmony in the pained northeastern state. The protest witnessed the participation of hundreds of people, student organizations, and various Kuki-Zomi civil society outfits, all coming together to condemn the heinous crime that recently came to light.


A placard from the protest

On the evening of Saturday, more than 1,000 individuals from the Kuki tribe assembled at New Delhi's Jantar Mantar. A couple of protestors were permitted to talk with the media, while the rest held standards explaining their singular voices.


Activists from the All India Students’ Association and the Krantikari Yuva Sangathan additionally assembled at Jantar Mantar for the dissent, showing bulletins and flags with messages like "CM Biren Singh Go Back" and "End Violence in Manipur." They additionally called for severe activity against those answerable for the dishonourably stripping down and parading two women naked in the state. The pressure in Manipur heightened after a video of May 4 surfaced, showing men from one local area marching two women from the other local area naked.


A day before parliament's Monsoon meeting, a video of Kuki women being marched stripped and physically attacked by a horde became a web sensation. The women attested that the mob had an association with the Meitei.


The episode happened on May 4, a day after violence erupted in Manipur. Up until this point, five men and one juvenile in the gathering found in the video have been captured by Manipur police. Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh expressed, "The state government will attempt to guarantee the death penalty for the charged."


After seeing the video, Prime Minister Narendra Modi likewise tended to the country, communicating his disgrace in the interest of common society. He promised that the law would find its most grounded ways to bring equity over what happened to the "daughters of Manipur" and that such activities would never be excused.


The interest in a different organization and a different land proceeded with both Delhi and Manipur by individuals from the Kuki tribe.


A law graduate student from the state of Manipur, who also attend the protest at Jantar Mantar, called the state's violence state-supported and scrutinized the postponement in capturing the blamed regardless of an FIR having been enrolled before (on May 18). He questioned whether the police would lead any further examination. He further added that the only solution to this problem is to create separate administration


During the demonstration, protestors from the Kuki tribe raised slogans, for example, "Save Tribal Rights", "Hang the rapist" and "Biren Singh Down Down".


However, it is important to note that the protest at Jantar Mantar on July 22, 2023, was not without controversy. A Meitei organization, the Meitei Heritage Society, accused the Delhi Police of discrimination, claiming that they were denied permission to hold their protest in the city on July 15, despite earlier plans. The Meitei Christian Churches Council (MCCC) and the Meitei Heritage Society had initially planned to hold a protest at Jantar Mantar but were prevented from doing so by the Delhi Police, citing security, law and order, and traffic concerns. As a result, they had to gather at the Constitution Club of India to address the ongoing violence in the State.


The Meitei Heritage Society, in their statement, demanded equal rights to express freely and protest peacefully, accusing the Delhi Police of favouritism for allowing the Chin Kuki community to protest at Jantar Mantar while rejecting their application. They questioned the equal protection of the rights of all citizens, irrespective of their background or beliefs, and expressed concerns about the suppression of the Meitei Christian community's voice and attempts to silence those seeking justice and protection.


Despite this controversy, the protest on July 22nd was widely joined by student organizations from various parts of the city and Kuki-Zomi organizations, who primarily demanded the resignation of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah in light of the ongoing conflict in Manipur. The protesters also called for impartial investigations into the cases of violence in the state. However, it remains essential for all concerned parties to engage in dialogue and work together to find a peaceful resolution to the complex issues in Manipur, ensuring justice and protection for all communities involved.


The protestors in demonstration

Later on Wednesday, the protest at Jantar Mantar saw AAP leaders attending it, including spokesperson Reena Gupta and Delhi Cabinet ministers Gopal Rai and Saurabh Bharadwaj, coming together to condemn the violence and brutality in Manipur. They raised their voices against the heinous crimes committed against women, emphasizing that Manipur is not an isolated case but part of a broader issue of violence against women across the country. The protestors decried the delay in bringing the perpetrators to justice and urged for swift action to prevent such incidents from recurring.


Manipur is currently facing a crisis that demands urgent attention and action. The protest at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, serves as a collective voice against the atrocities and violence in the state. It is crucial for authorities to demonstrate accountability and work towards a peaceful resolution to end the cycle of violence and uphold the dignity and safety of all citizens, especially women. This is a call for unity, compassion, and justice to restore peace and stability to the beautiful land of Manipur.


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