India

Manipur video: Public rally in support of accused, calls for halt of arrests in case

Hundreds of houses, churches, temples, and vehicles were either vandalised or set ablaze across Manipur. [Photo: Twitter/MC Mary Kom]
Hundreds of houses, churches, temples, and vehicles were either vandalised or set ablaze across Manipur. [Photo: Twitter/MC Mary Kom]

Imphal: A protest rally was organized by the Thoubal district Apunba Club and Meira paibis in Manipur to denounce the arrest of several individuals linked to a viral video case by the Thoubal district police.

The video depicted two women being paraded naked and sexually assaulted by a violent mob in broad daylight. However, the protesters demanded an end to any further arrests related to the case.

The rally commenced around 10:30 am on Friday from two directions: one group started at Wangjing Kodompokpi sports complex, and the other group began at Thoubal Kshetri leikai Haotabi Lampak. The two groups converged at Thoubal Deputy Commissioner Office in Thoubal Athokpam, Imphal Free Press reported.

The authorities, led by Additional SP (ops) O. Wangkhomba, along with BSF forces, were stationed at the DC gate and displayed a warning banner cautioning the protesters not to cross the boundaries.

They warned that force would be used against those who violated the boundaries and stated that any damages resulting from the use of force would be the responsibility of the individuals.

However, the protesters reached the gate of the DC office and demanded an assurance from the DC and SP Thoubal to halt the arrests of the men involved in the viral video incident.

SP Thoubal Sachidananda Soibam, MPS, and AC to DC K. Lenin, MCS, later came out to meet the protesters and assured them that their demands would be addressed.

Thoubal district Apunba Club convenor Thounaojam Roshan Meitei, while speaking to the media, accused the government of India of plotting political conspiracies to suppress the Meitei community by arresting youths who played a significant role in protecting their community during the ongoing clash. He also criticized Modi government for attempting to control the indigenous Meiteis, who have a history of over 2000 years.

Roshan warned of an intense agitation against both the GoI and state governments if the “arbitrary arrests of innocent civilians” in Thoubal district or the valley areas of Manipur continued.

He strongly opposed the combing operations in the valley areas, which had instilled fear among the general public.

During the protest, the participants displayed placards with messages such as “Stop Arresting Innocent People,” “Government Should Control Kuki Dominated Areas Immediately,” and “Meiteis Want Peace, Kukis Want War.” The slogan “Stop Combing Operation in Thoubal District” was also chanted during the rally.

So far, the Thoubal district Police have apprehended seven accused persons, including one juvenile, in connection with the viral video case.

Additionally, the houses of two accused individuals were set on fire by an angry mob as soon as their alleged involvement in the video came to light.

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