The collective shock and anger of the nation has continued to be expressed over the May 4 sexual assault of two Kuki women in Manipur.
Meghalaya has joined in the national pain, with numerous organisations ranging from church groups, students’ unions and the Meghalaya State Commission for Women all condemning the grave crime.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of India was “extremely pained” to learn of the incident, adding that “Such an extreme level of crime and inhumane act perpetrated by the mob is a major crime against humanity and is absolutely shocking and condemnable”. It also encouraged the victims to remain strong and assured them of the church’s prayers. The Presbyterian Women’s Fellowship issued similar words of condemnation for the assault and solidarity with the victims.
The Khasi Jaintia Christian Leaders Forum described the perpetrators as “nothing short of being animals”. The KJCLF deplored “these ghastly acts and in the strongest terms condemns all those who are directly involved and indirectly encourages such crimes” and hoped that the promises of justice by the Prime Minister and Chief Minister are delivered on.
The Meghalaya State Commission for Women thanked the National Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court for taking cognizance of this “shameful act” and urged the central and state governments to deliver justice “against those involved in this horrific act of human depravity that threatens the dignity and safety of every woman and child of the nation”.
Students groups were strongly critical of the assault, with the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), a conglomeration of students’ unions from across the region, condemning the “outrageous, barbaric and inhumane” act. The crime was despicable enough to “send shivers down the spine of every right-thinking individual.” The Zeliangrong Students’ Union Shillong also expressed its deep anguish over the “nefarious crime” and demanded swift action against the perpetrators.
In Mizoram, the association of Manipuris living there denounced the “act of barbarism” and called for strict punishment of the guilty. The Zomi Mothers’ Association, based in Manipur, said that Kuki-Zo women and children continue to be “easy targets and victims of the horrors” of the ongoing conflict. It condemned not just male perpetrators of violence but also women’s groups who it accused of carrying out attacks. It also castigated the state government for not acting in the two months since the incident took place.
The Working Group for Naga Rights in Manipur also declared that it is appalled by the “unspeakable evil of the unhinged mob” while also referring to the recent murder of a Naga woman in Imphal East over the weekend.
Others to express their condemnation included the Lympung Ki Seng Kynthei (forum of women’s organisations), Peace Accord MNF Returnees’ Association (PAMRA), All Mizo Women Federation and the Mizoram branch of the Association of Theologically Trained Women of India.