Video of women paraded naked sparks public outrage in India

Horrific video of incident draws first public comments from Narendra Modi about ethnic violence in Manipur state

A video of two women being paraded naked by a group of men in Manipur has elicited the first public comments from prime minister Narendra Modi regarding ethnic violence that has engulfed the relatively remote Indian state.

“The incident of Manipur is a shame for any civilised society,” Mr Modi told reporters before the start of the latest parliament session on Thursday. “I assure the nation: The guilty won’t be spared. The law will take its course with all its might. What happened with the daughters of Manipur can never be forgiven.”

The horrific video – of an incident that took place on May 4th – went viral on social media overnight, triggering public anger.

India’s supreme court called the video “deeply disturbing”. The judges asked the federal and state governments – which are both led by Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party – to report steps taken against the perpetrators at a hearing scheduled for July 28th.


“If the government does not act, then we will,” said D Y Chandrachud, the court’s chief justice.

Until Thursday, Mr Modi, who faces re-election early next year, hadn’t said anything about the violence in Manipur, where ethnic groups have clashed since early May. Mobs have killed more than 150 people, according to an official count, and tens of thousands have been displaced.

The conflict centres around tensions between the area’s minority tribal groups and majority Meitei Hindus over access to jobs, land and positions at educational institutions under affirmative action policies.

This week, the Manipur police filed a case against the perpetrators in the video, who have not been named, for abduction, gang rape and murder. The authorities made their first arrest onThursday morning, N Biren Singh, the chief minister of Manipur, wrote in a tweet.

The violence in Manipur, which borders Myanmar, is the worst the state has seen for decades. The clashes recall periods in the 1990s when the area was in the grip of brutal insurgencies and ethnic conflicts.

India’s northeastern states lag behind most of the country in development and government jobs are the main source of employment.

The Meiteis account for over 50 per cent of the state’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley. The area’s main tribal groups – the Kukis and Nagas – make up 40 per cent of Manipur’s population and live largely in the hills.

On Thursday, Mr Modi urged other Indian states to punish crimes against women to the fullest extent of the law. Both houses of the parliament were adjourned for the day, as opposition lawmakers shouted slogans demanding a debate on the situation in Manipur. – Bloomberg