Manipur video: India parliament disrupted by protests over violence-hit state

Members of various organisations take part in a protest against the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur state, in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, July 21, 2023.
Image caption,A video of two women being paraded naked in Manipur has sparked national and global outrage

India’s parliament was adjourned for a third day after opposition MPs demanded a debate on the violence in the north-eastern state of Manipur.

Angry MPs disrupted proceedings by shouting slogans and holding placards in both houses.

Home Minister Amit Shah said he was “ready to have a discussion” and blamed the Opposition for not allowing it.

But protesting MPs demanded that PM Narendra Modi should address the house on the issue.

Tensions have escalated in Manipur since May where ethnic clashes between the majority Meitei group and the tribal Kuki minority have killed more than 130 people and displaced nearly 60,000.

On Sunday, the US expressed concern over reports of a video that showed two women being paraded naked in the state.

The assault on the women took place almost three months ago but became public last week after the video went viral, sparking global outrage.

A US spokesperson called the incident “brutal” and “terrible”, Reuters reported.

India is yet to comment on the statement. But earlier this month, the Indian government had responded sharply after a US official said that his country was “ready to assist” in resolving the crisis in Manipur.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that he had not seen the comments, made by US ambassador Eric Garcetti, personally but that foreign diplomats usually did not comment on India’s “internal developments”.

The video, which was first circulated on Thursday, shows two Kuki women being pushed around and groped by a mob from a village dominated by Meiteis.

It sparked widespread condemnation, leading to the arrest of six men. According to a police complaint, one of the women was gang raped. The complaint added that a third woman was also forced to strip but she is not seen in the video.

Questions are being raised about why it took police so long to act – the complaint had been lodged just days after the incident and many of the men are clearly identifiable in the footage.

After the video went viral, Mr Modi condemned the assault as “shameful” and promised tough action but he is yet to make a statement in parliament.

Protests also erupted in Manipur, where thousands gathered over the weekend demanding the arrest of men involved in the assault.

There have also been reports of Meities living in the neighbouring Mizoram state leaving for Manipur and Assam state after an organisation of former insurgents issued a “warning” about their safety.

However, the Mizoram government has assured the Meitei community of their security in the state.

On Sunday, the organisation also clarified that its statement was not a warning, but an “advisory requesting Meities living in Mizoram to exercise caution in the light of the public sentiments”.

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