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A horrific video pushes India’s Modi to speak out

Indians protest about the ongoing Manipur violence in New Delhi.

Indians protest about the ongoing Manipur violence in New Delhi.

Ayush Sharma via Reuters Connect

After two months of gruesome ethnic violence in the northeastern state of Manipur, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally weighed in on Thursday, but only after a horrific video emerged, showing several women being stripped, assaulted, and marched off to be gang-raped.

For two months now, clashes in Manipur between the Meitei majority tribe and the Kiki tribe, to which the women belonged, have left more than 100 dead and displaced at least 60,000 people.

Modi pledged justice and said he was “filled with pain and anger.” Lawmakers called for a debate on the issue, and the supreme court demanded swift justice.

But Modi, and the authorities more broadly, have been criticized for ignoring the Manipur conflict until now. The events in the video occurred in May. And despite rape charges that were filed at the time, no arrests were made until Thursday, after the video emerged.

The episode is part of a broader trend of rising violence against women in the world’s most populous democracy, where crimes such as rape and kidnapping often go unpunished, and cultural norms stigmatize victims. In 2021, India saw the highest number of reported crimes against women in its history.


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