Ten days after a horrific video from Manipur, where two women were paraded naked by a mob of men, had outraged the nation, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed an First Information Report (FIR) into the case and has taken over the investigation. The development has come on Saturday - July 29 in the midst of an ongoing violence in the northeastern state.
The violence is happening for over two months after a conflict that broke out between the Meitei and Kuki communities, the two prominent ethnic groups in Manipur. The clash started on May 3 after the state's High Court ruled to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the Meiteis allowing them to buy lands from the Kuki dominated hill areas, which sparked a protest from the Kukis, which later escalated into violence.
Both the state ruling and central ruling BJP governments remained futile over the violence that later became a religious polarization. While Meiteis are Hindus and play a big dominance in the state governance, Kukis embrace Christianity and would live in the hills. As both the communities clashed each other with weapons, a mob of Meitei men had on May 4 stormed B Phainom village and attacked the houses.
The mob then captured five people including three Kuki women. After killing two men, the mob had sexually assaulted and gangraped the women. The men with sophisticated weapons had forced the women to remove their clothes and made them walk naked on the streets. While the humiliated women walk on the streets naked, a group of men was seen touching the private parts of the women. The chilling crime had happened on May 4, but it came to light only on July 19.
As the video was surfaced online, it had sparked a nationwide fury and had fueled the attack against the BJP governments. The incident had also pushed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who remained a mute spectator on Manipur violence for over 70 days, to break his silence as he said what happened to these women can never be forgiven. While Manipur police booked a case into this chilling crime on May 18, there were no arrests made until the video came to light.
After the video, Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh quickly reacted that his government has arrested the main culprit in the crime hours after the video went viral and that his government would also take efforts to ensure that all the accused would be awarded a capital punishment. Later, the Manipur police had announced that multiple arrests were made in the case amid monitoring the situation.
In the midst of these developments, the CBI has come to the picture by taking over the investigation. The officials in the know said that the case was handed over to the CBI on a reference from the Union Home Ministry. The CBI has now filed an FIR and taken over the case from the Manipur police in accordance with its procedure. The central agency had already stationed its Special Investigation Team (SIT) in Manipur under a DIG-rank officer.
As the case has been taken over by the CBI, now, as the next step, the central agency will be deploying some more women officers to Manipur along with forensic experts to probe the case. Earlier, reacting to the chilling crime, Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud described it as shameful and unacceptable.
It has been reported that the two-month-long violence in Manipur had killed over 150 people and over 50,000 people have been displaced. It is pertinent to note that the CBI has taken over the case at a high time when the leaders of the united opposition front, INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) coalition had visited the violence-hit-state.