New Delhi, Jul 20 (EFE).- Footage of two women who were allegedly forced to parade naked in India’s northeastern state of Manipur sparked outrage across the country on Thursday.
The video, which started going viral on social media on Wednesday, shows how two women were allegedly forced to walk through the street naked surrounded by dozens of men, some of whom were armed with sticks.
“I assure the nation, no guilty will be spared. Law will take its course with all its might. What happened with the daughters of Manipur can never be forgiven,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed Thursday during remarks at the start of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
Footage of the incident went viral after months of ethnic clashes in Manipur that have left over 100 people dead.
Modi’s remarks Thursday were the first reference to the state since sectarian clashes first erupted in early May.
Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh meanwhile noted on Twitter that “after taking a Suo-moto cognizance of the incident immediately after the video surfaced, the Manipur Police swung to action and made the first arrest this morning.”
“A thorough investigation is currently underway and we will ensure strict action is taken against all the perpetrators, including considering the possibility of capital punishment. Let it be known, there is absolutely no place for such heinous acts in our society,” Singh added.
The incident has sparked a wave of fury among politicians, civil society leaders and India’s Supreme Court leader.
Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud condemned the “deeply disturbing” footage saying it represented a “gross constitutional failure,” the Indian Express newspaper quoted him as sayinh.
“If the government does not act, we will,” Chandrachud added. “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.”
According to Manipur Police, the footage was recorded on May 4 in Thoubal district, and the two women who were reportedly forced to parade naked belong to the Kuki-Zomi tribal community, according to a statement issued by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF).
A wave of ethnic violence has engulfed Manipur since early May, when the clashes began after a demonstration by minority tribal communities of the state against the regional High Court advising the inclusion of the dominant group, Meitei, in the list of disadvantaged “scheduled” tribes.
The inclusion would allow the majority and predominantly Hindu community to gain access to quotas in education and government jobs available to disadvantaged groups in India.
The move has infuriated minority tribal communities, including the Kukis, most of whom are Christians.
Violent clashes have left at least 142 people dead, according to government data.
More than 50,000 people have been displaced by the violence and efforts by the authorities to mediate have so far failed. EFE