A phone call to find her daughter’s whereabouts was a spine-chilling experience for a tribal woman in Manipur. “Do you want your daughter dead or alive,” said the voice at the other end. It was a woman. The mother was not really being given a choice. Later, they were informed that her daughter was dead. Her blood and hair were found plastered on the walls of a building in Imphal.
The family is yet to receive the body. “I still cannot accept the fact and I still sometimes hope that my daughter will return because I haven’t seen her with my own eyes. Even right now her dad is still at the hospital in Senapati. I still cannot believe what happened to my daughter.,” the woman told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
Her daughter was one of the two young women who were gangraped and murdered at a car wash on the evening of May 5, two days after ethnic violence broke out in Manipur.
They were gagged and locked in the room by seven men, said eye-witnesses. They had screamed and pleaded, but their attackers did not relent. Sources said a co-worker, who reportedly witnessed the incident, said the women in the mob encouraged the men to sexually assault them.
The bodies have allegedly been kept in the morgue at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) hospital in Imphal.
“Because of the violence I was worried, so I had called her,” the woman’s mother told NDTV. “A woman picked up the phone. She questioned if I want my daughter dead or alive and hung up. My mind went blank,” she said.
“I am a heart patient and because of that, my family doesn’t tell me anything. So, I called my children together and spoke to them about what was happening. After that I did not receive any calls. After some days I received a call and was told what had happened to my daughter,” she added.
The atrocities took place the same day two women were paraded naked around 40 km away. The video, which surfaced earlier this week, had evoked shock and outrage across the country.
Crimes against women in Manipur in this latest wave of ethnic violence started making headlines only after the horror video of women being paraded naked surfaced. At least 125 people have been killed and more than 40,000 displaced since the violence erupted on May 3.
Police sources have confirmed that no arrests have been made in this case so far. The Manipur police are currently examining thousands of complaints related to various crimes, including weapon looting, arson, killings, and assaults on women.
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