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Manipur video victims file plea in Supreme Court

Protestors hold placards as they attend a protest against the alleged sexual assault of two tribal women in the eastern state of Manipur, in New Delhi, India, July 21, 2023. — Reuters

The victims of a shocking sexual assault incident, which occurred in India’s Manipur state a couple of months ago, have sought justice pleading the country’s Supreme Court against the central and state governments.

India’s top court had strongly denounced the “deeply disturbing” video of the incident, highlighting a significant constitutional failure, calling upon the government to take decisive measures to protect women in the region, NDTV reported.

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud ordered authorities to keep the court informed about the progress in the matter.

Responding to the development, the Narendra Modi-led administration in New Delhi requested the trial to be relocated outside the state, urging the Supreme Court to ensure its completion within six months.

In the video, two tribal women were sexually assaulted, while a tribal organisation in the state claimed they were gang-raped in a field as well. It has, so far, received immense condemnation across the board with demands seeking justice for the victims.

The shocking incident unfolded a day after clashes between the Meitei and Kuki tribes in the state, triggered by the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribes (ST) status.

The chief justice also expressed deep concern over the videos and emphasised the need for the government’s prompt action to address the matter, emphasizing that such violence is unacceptable and must not go unpunished.

“If the government does not act, we will. We are of the view that the court must be apprised of the steps taken by the government so that perpetrators are booked for such violence. What is portrayed in the media and visuals which appeared shows gross constitutional violation,” Justice Chandrachud said.

The top court was slated to hear various pleas related to ethnic violence in the state on July 28; however, the hearing was postponed due to the top judge’s illness. Both the Manipur government and the home ministry recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the case on July 26 and 27, respectively.

So far, seven people have been arrested in connection with the incident.

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