Another case of sexual assault on woman reported in Manipur

The Indian state has been gripped by ethnic violence since May 3

Members of a tribal community during a protest in New Delhi over violence against women and for peace in the north-east state of Manipur. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Weeks after a video of a large mob parading and sexually assaulting two tribal women in India's Manipur sent shockwaves across the country, another woman has come forward and filed a case alleging sexual assault by a group of men.

The incident allegedly occurred on May 3 in Churachandpur – the day when ethnic violence broke out between the majority Hindu Meitei community and Christian Kuki tribes in the district over a government policy that would benefit the majority Meiteis.

She filed a formal police complaint on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old woman in her complaint said that she was caught by five or six men when she was fleeing with her niece and two sons after militias started burning down her house and her neighbour's house in Churachandpur after ethnic clashes, according to media reports.

She told the police that she was scared of facing “social stigma” and gathered the courage to file a police complaint after seeing reports of other women speaking up about the sexual assaults.

"I did not disclose the incident to save myself and my family's honour, dignity and to save ourselves from social ostracism. The delay in filing this complaint is due to social stigma,” the woman said in a statement attached to her complaint.

The woman, who is at a relief camp, said that she had fallen when she tried to run and was then “pinned down” by the men.

"I carried my niece on my back and also held my two sons and started running from the spot along with my sister-in-law … I stumbled and fell down on the road and was unable to get up ... my sister-in-law came back and picked up my niece from my back and ran along with my two sons as I insisted.

"When I finally managed to get up, some five-six ... miscreants got hold of me. They started verbally abusing and assaulting me. Despite my resistance, I was forcefully pinned down. After this, the men started sexually assaulting me," the woman said in the complaint, according to the NDTV news channel.

Police did not respond to The National’s queries.

The incident is the latest case of violence against women reported in the state after large-scale violence that has left at least 180 dead and displaced more than 60,000 people since May 3.

In June, a video of two tribal women stripped and paraded went viral, sparking outrage in the country.

The Manipur Police on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that more thyan 6,500 police cases under the category arson, looting and destruction of house property have been filed in the month period between May 3 and July 30.

The cases include one case of rape and murder, three gang-rape cases, 72 murder cases, and four cases of "outraging modesty".

Updated: August 10, 2023, 4:23 PM