A day after a video of two women from the Kuki-Zomi community being paraded naked and sexually assaulted in Manipur surfaced, one of the victims told The Indian Express that they had been “left to the mob by the police”.
Two women, one in her 20s and the other in her 40s, can be seen being made to walk naked down a road and towards a field by a mob of men. Some of the men can be seen dragging the two women towards a field and forcibly groping them. In a police complaint that was filed on May 18, the victims had also alleged that the younger woman was “brutally gang raped in the broad daylight”.
In the complaint, they had said that they had fled to a forest for shelter after their village in Kangpokpi district, was attacked by a mob and that they were later rescued by Thoubal police and were being taken to the police station, but were stopped on the way by a mob and seized from police custody around two kilometres away from the police station.
However, speaking to The Indian Express over the phone from her husband’s home, the younger woman alleged: “The police were there with the mob which was attacking our village. The police picked us up from near home, and took us a little away from the village and left us on the road with the mob. We were given to them by police.”
In their complaint, the victims had said that there were five of them who were there together: the two women seen in the video, another woman in her 50s who was also allegedly stripped, and the father and brother of the youngest woman, who they alleged were killed by the mob.
“After all the men were killed, and the mob did what they did, we were just left there and we escaped,” she said.
She said that she and her family have not been aware of the existence of a video capturing the incident, the circulation of which has sparked national outrage and prompted the state government and police to take action, two months after the FIR was filed.
“There is no internet here in Manipur, we wouldn’t know,” she said.
She said that while there were “too many” men who were part of the mob, she was able to recognise a few of them, including one who she said she had known to be a friend of her brother’s.
Following the outrage sparked by the video, on Thursday morning, the government confirmed the arrest of one person in connection with the incident. Police said on Thursday afternoon that the operation to arrest more of the perpetrators is ongoing.
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