The Supreme Court today will hear the centre’s request to transfer the case of two women being paraded naked in strife-torn Manipur to a different state.
The two women filed petitions in the Supreme Court against the centre and the Manipur government. The petitions request that the Supreme Court take suo motu action on the case and order a fair and impartial inquiry. The victims have also requested that their identities be protected.
The Supreme Court last week condemned the “deeply disturbing” video, stating that the visuals showed “gross constitutional failure”. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud called on the government to take concrete steps to protect women in the region and to keep the court informed of their progress.
The centre has asked the Supreme Court to move the trial out of the state. It also requested the top court to ensure that the trial is completed within six months.
The video of the two women has drawn widespread condemnation from opposition leaders. A tribal organisation in Manipur has alleged that the two women were gang-raped in a field.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) claims that the incident occurred on May 4 in Kangpokpi district, which is 35 kilometres from the state capital of Imphal. However, the police claim that the incident occurred in a different district, even though the FIR was filed in Kangpokpi.
The horrific incident took place a day after violence erupted between the Meitei and Kuki tribes in Manipur, following the Meitei’s demand for Scheduled Tribes (ST) status.
“We are very deeply disturbed about the videos distributed. We are expressing our deep concern. It is time that the government steps and takes action. This is unacceptable,” CJI Chandrachud had said.
“If the government does not act, we will. We are of the view that the court must be apprised of the steps taken by the government so that perpetrators are booked for such violence. What is portrayed in the media and visuals which appeared shows gross constitutional violation,” he added.
The Supreme Court was scheduled to hear a number of petitions related to the ethnic violence in Manipur on July 28, but the hearing was postponed after CJI Chandrachud fell ill.
The Manipur government and the Home Ministry both recommended a CBI probe into the case on July 26 and July 27, respectively.
So far, seven people have been arrested in connection with the case.