Manipur: CBI Takes Over Case Of Alleged Sexual Assault Amid Ethnic Violence

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Posted in Featured, Manipur, Northeast
NET Web Desk

Guwahati, July 29, 2023: In the midst of escalating ethnic violence in Manipur, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has assumed control of the case involving the alleged sexual assault of two women by a mob. The Manipur Police had previously registered an FIR against unidentified individuals in connection with the heinous incident, leading to the CBI’s intervention as per their standard procedure.

The disturbing incident came to light through a video that surfaced earlier this month, capturing the horrifying scene of two tribal women being subjected to nudity and molestation by a mob. The shocking footage triggered nationwide outrage and intensified demands for accountability. The Opposition raised its voice in Parliament, seeking a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation in Manipur. The distressing event in the video took place on May 4.

Since May 3, Manipur has been engulfed in ethnic violence between the Meitei and tribal communities, resulting in more than 150 fatalities and the displacement of several thousand people. The unrest also caused significant damage to residential areas, religious sites, and political establishments. Critics have criticized PM Modi for his silence in response to the crisis.

The CBI’s involvement in the case followed a reference from the Union home ministry, as disclosed by officials speaking to PTI.

Prior to the CBI takeover, the Centre apprised the Supreme Court of the Manipur government’s request to transfer the case to the CBI. Subsequently, the government granted the transfer and recommended that the trial be conducted outside of Manipur. The Centre further requested the Supreme Court to ensure the trial’s completion within six months from the date of the CBI’s charge sheet submission.

To date, seven individuals, including the person who recorded the video, have been arrested in connection with the incident. Authorities have also recovered the mobile phone used to film the distressing scene.

In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the Centre stated, “The Government of Manipur vide letter dated 26.07.2023 has recommended to Secretary, DOP&T for entrusting the case to CBI for further investigation, which has been duly recommended to Secretary, DOP&T by MHA vide letter dated 27.07.2023. The investigation shall, thus, be transferred to the CBI.” The Centre emphasized the importance of a timely investigation and trial, urging that the trial be conducted outside of Manipur.

“The central government, therefore, makes a specific request that the entire case, including the trial of the offence in question, be ordered to be transferred by this court to any state outside the state of Manipur. The power to transfer the case/trial outside any state is only with this court and, therefore, the central government is making this request to this court to pass such an order with a further direction to conclude the trial within a period of six months from the date of the filing of the charge sheet by the CBI,” conveyed the Centre in the affidavit submitted to the Apex Court, as reported by PTI.

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