Sit-In Protests Women's Assault

Thousands in India demand arrests and official's resignation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 22, 2023 5:45 PM CDT
Mass Sit-In Calls for Justice in Mob Assault of Women
Kuki tribal protesters participate in a demonstration in New Delhi against deadly ethnic clashes in the country's northeastern state of Manipur on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Thousands of people, mostly women, held a massive sit-in in India's violence-wracked northeastern state of Manipur on Saturday to demand the immediate arrest of anyone who took part in the harrowing May assault of two women who were paraded around naked and molested by a mob in an attack that was caught on video. The leaders of religious and women's groups addressed the nearly 15,000 protesters, who also called for the firing of Biren Singh, the top elected official in the state where more than 130 people have been killed since violence between two dominant ethnic groups erupted in early May. The protest was held in Churachandpur, a town 40 miles south of Imphal, the state capital, the AP reports.

Manipur has been the scene of a near-civil war that was sparked by Christian Kukis protesting against a demand by the mostly Hindu Meiteis for a special status that would let them buy land in the hills populated by Kukis and other tribal groups, as well as a guaranteed share of government jobs. A video showing the women being assaulted triggered widespread outrage and has been widely shared on social media despite the government largely blocking the internet and keeping journalists out of the remote state. The footage shows the two naked women surrounded by scores of young men who grope their genitals and drag them to a field.

The Manipur state government on Saturday announced a fifth arrest in the attack, and police said officers were carrying out raids to arrest other suspects. Nearly 400 men and women held a protest in the Indian capital with similar demands, per the AP. They carried placards reading "We demand action against the perpetrators" and "Resign, Biren Singh." In Manipur state, the protesters assembled at a "Wall of Remembrance" in an open ground in Churachandpur, a stronghold of the Kuki tribe, where they kept dummy coffins of people from their minority community who have been killed in the violence.

(More India stories.)

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