Enraged, the women set fire to the two houses Men accused of parading two women naked in Manipur state, along with two other suspects At least 120 people have been killed in months of ethnic violence in northeastern India, AFP reported in a video released Friday.
The women burnt down the house of one of the men suspected of taking naked women to the streets and raping themPhoto: AFP / AFP / Profimedia
The four arrested by police on Thursday were identified from a video of the incident in early May that went viral on social media on Wednesday, angering the entire country.
“Four main culprits arrested in viral footage case,” Manipur State Police said on Twitter on Thursday evening.
The video shows two women from the Kukis tribe, who are in an inter-ethnic conflict with the Meiteis tribe, walking naked down a street and being taunted and harassed by a mob identified as members of the dominant ethnic group, the Meiteis community.
On the day the four suspects were arrested, a woman activist set fire to the house of one of the four men in Imphal by throwing straws.
As the fire raged, women from the Meiteis community, like the four accused, hit the walls and roof of the house with sticks.
On Friday, another group of women destroyed the house of the second suspect.
Where did the inter-communal violence in Manipur really start?
India is generally a conservative and patriarchal country, but in the Meiteis community – where women play a more important role in society than in other areas – there are women activists, according to News.ro.
A video of two naked women sparked protests across India on Friday, during which demonstrators demanded the resignation of the head of the Manipur state government, whom they blamed for inaction.
“Can normal people do this? Cats, dogs, even animals have never done such heinous acts,” said one protester who gathered hundreds of women in Imphal, capital of Manipur state.
The state government, led by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), announced police action after the video surfaced on social media, two months after the incident.
Chief Minister N. Bren Singh announced on Twitter that a “thorough investigation” was underway.
“We will ensure that strict action is taken against all the culprits, including consideration of death penalty,” he asserted.
Violence erupted in Manipur in May following protests by members of the Maithis community – the majority Hindus – against the possibility of getting the more favorable status of “Scheduled Tribes”.
The hypothesis has rekindled old fears of the Kukis — usually Christians — that members of the Meiteis and other tribal groups would be allowed to take over land in areas currently assigned to them.
Homes and churches were set on fire, and dozens of people sought refuge in government-run camps.
In a report submitted to the court in June, the Manipur Tribal Council, a civil society group, said multiple and gruesome acts of violence — including rape and beheading — took place without state authorities opening an investigation.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that the incident in Manipur was a disgrace to any civilized society.
“It brings shame to the entire nation,” condemned Modi, speaking for the first time about the violence.
The Supreme Court has warned the Modi government that action will be taken if action is not taken.
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