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Manipur video victims move Supreme Court of India for justice

Khwairamband Ima Keithel Joint Coordinating Committee protest to demanding peace in Manipur outside the Governor´s gate in Imphal on July 28, 2023, during ongoing ethnic violence in India´s north-eastern state of Manipur. — AFP 

In the wake of the horrific sexual assault they were subjected to a couple of months ago in the Indian state of Manipur, victims have finally moved the country’s Supreme Court against the central and state government, seeking justice.

The Indian top court, last week, strongly condemned the “deeply disturbing” video depicting a gross constitutional failure. It called on the government to take decisive actions to safeguard women in the region.

India’s chief justice, DY Chandrachud, also urged the authorities to keep the court informed of their progress in the matter. 

In its response to the situation, the Narendra Modi-led government requested the trial to be moved out of the state and urged 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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