Imphal, Aug 11 (IANS) Thousands of women on Friday participated in sit-in demonstrations in Manipur’s five valley districts in protest against the alleged gang rape of a 37-year-old woman in Churachandpur on May 3 and demanded a CBI probe into the crime.
The sit-in protests were organised by the Meira Paibi (Women torch bearers), an organisation of Meitei women in five valley districts — Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal, Bishnupur, and Kakching.
Meira Paibi leader M. Velinda said that they are always protesting and demanding justice to the perpetrators who sexually or physically assault women of any community, be it Meitei or Naga or Kuki community.
Demanding arrest of the culprits, Longjam Bina Devi said: “We strongly condemn the gangrape of the woman by miscreants in Churachandpur on May 3.”
The survivor of the horrific incident in her recent complaint to the police on August 9 alleged that she was gangraped by a group of men while she, along with others, was fleeing her burning house in Khumujamba Leikai in Churachandpur on May 3, when the ethnic violence broke out in Manipur.
The protest was called by Meira Paibi President Longjam Memchaubi against “unspeakable crimes against women and men by armed militants and infiltrators from Myanmar”.
The 37-year-old married woman said in her complaint: “Five-six people got hold of me and started verbally abusing and assaulting me. Despite my resistance, I was forcefully pinned down. “After this, they started sexually assaulting me… They inserted their fingers into my private part in a violent manner. There was no help coming from anybody despite my cries for help. “Thereafter, some more men joined them. At that time, I lost consciousness. Later, when I regained my senses, I found myself in a house surrounded by some Meitei people.”
The non-tribal woman alleged that she was severely assaulted and gang-raped on May 3 when she, her family members and neighbours were trying to flee from their homes after a mob attacked and burnt down their houses at Churachandpur, one of the worst hit districts in Manipur amid the ongoing violence.
The victim, now staying in a relief camp, also said that she did not disclose the incident earlier to save herself and her family’s honour and dignity, and to safeguard themselves from social ostracism.
Last month, a horrific video of two women being paraded naked on a road by a group of men in Manipur on May 4 was shared widely on social media, drawing nationwide condemnation and calls for action. So far, nine accused persons seen in the video have been arrested. The Supreme Court had also criticised the Manipur government on this issue.