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Imphal, July 20 Manipur Police on Thursday arrested one person in connection to the ghastly incident of two women being paraded naked while being groped by a mob and their subsequent gang rape in Thoubal district on May 4, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said, adding the government will consider capital punishment for the accused.
Confirming the arrest, Biren Singh, who holds the Home portfolio, said an investigation is currently underway and his government would ensure that strict action is taken against all the perpetrators, including considering the possibility of capital punishment.
In a tweet, the Chief Minister said: “My hearts go out to the two women who were subjected to a deeply disrespectful and inhumane act, as shown in the distressing video that surfaced yesterday. After taking a suo-moto cognisance of the incident immediately after the video surfaced, the Manipur Police swung to action and made the first arrest this morning.
“A thorough investigation is currently underway and we will ensure strict action is taken against all the perpetrators, including considering the possibility of capital punishment. Let it be known, there is absolutely no place for such heinous acts in our society.”
Meanwhile, a top police officials said immediately after videos of the horrific incident surfaced on Wednesday, a case was registered at at Nongpok Sekmai Police station in Thoubal against unknown armed miscreants and a massive search to nab the perpetrators was also launched.
“The state police is making all-out efforts to arrest the culprits at the earliest. We will be able to arrest more accused by this evening. A search operation by the Manipur Police and other security forces was also undertaken in the adjoining districts,” the official told IANS.
The official added that several police teams headed by senior officers were formed to undertake the extensive search to nab the culprits.
The May 4 incident took place just a day after the ethnic violence broke out which has so far killed hundreds of people and forced thousands of others from their homes.
According to the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) , the two women were also gang raped in a paddy field after being paraded naked.
In a strongly-worded statement, the Forum said that since May 3, evidence of atrocities committed against the Kuki-Zo tribals continue to surface.
“A video which went viral on Wednesday shows a large Meitei mob parading two Kuki-Zo tribal women naked toward a paddy field to be gang raped. The despicable scene, which happened on May 4, shows the men constantly molesting the helpless women, who cry and plead with their captors,” ITLF spokesman Ginza Vualzong said in the statement.
The spokesman added that the gang rape occurred within the limits of the B. Phainom village which was burnt down.
He also claimed that a middle-aged and a teenager were brutally beaten to death by the mob in the same village.
The ITLF further said that “the horrifying ordeal suffered by the two innocent women is amplified by the perpetrators’ decision to share the video, which shows the identity of the victims, on social media”.
“The ITLF vehemently condemns the sickening act and demands that the Central and state governments, the National Commission for Women, and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes to take cognisance of the offense and take all necessary measures to bring justice to the culprits,” the statement added.