New Delhi: The Supreme Court has taken suo motu cognisance of the harrowing video showing two women being paraded naked and sexually assaulted in Manipur’s Kangpokpi. Shortly after Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud said that such an incident is unacceptable, Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh tweeted that one arrest has been made. Later in the day, speaking to a TV channel, Biren said “hundreds of similar cases have happened.”
The Wire had reported last evening that the video which has been shared multiple times on social media is of an incident that took place on May 4. A first information report had also been registered soon afterwards.
LiveLaw has reported that the apex court asked the Manipur government to inform it of the steps taken to bring the perpetrators into law.
“The court is deeply disturbed by the visuals of the video which surfaced yesterday on the perpetration of sexual violence of women in Manipur. We are of the view that the court must be apprised of the steps taken by the government to hold the perpetrators accountable and that such instances are not repeated. The visuals which are portrayed in the media reflects gross constitutional infraction. Using women as an instrument to perpetrate violence in a charged atmosphere is simply unacceptable,” the CJI said.
The order, uploaded later in the day, said that the court “must be apprised of the steps which have been and shall be taken by the government to (i) hold the perpetrators accountable; and (i) ensure
that such incidents are not repeated”.
The top court also asked the Union and state governments, both led by the BJP, to “take immediate steps – remedial, rehabilitative and preventive”.
The case will be heard again by the court on July 28.
Shortly after this, Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh tweeted that one of the accused had been arrested. The Manipur police’s lack of action on the crime for the two months and two weeks since it took place had been severely criticised.
My hearts go out to the two women who were subjected to a deeply disrespectful and inhumane act, as shown in the distressing video that surfaced yesterday. After taking a Suo-moto cognisance of the incident immediately after the video surfaced, the Manipur Police swung to action…
— N.Biren Singh (@NBirenSingh) July 20, 2023
“After taking a Suo-moto cognisance of the incident immediately after the video surfaced, the Manipur Police swung to action and made the first arrest this morning (sic),” the chief minister said.
It is unclear how the police could have taken suo motu cognisance of the case “after the video surfaced,” as the chief minister has claimed, when there was an FIR on it, filed in mid-May, already.
Speaking to The Wire, the two women have said that Manipur Police present at the scene did nothing to help them.
Later in the day, in an interview with the TV channel India Today, Biren said, “You should not listen to allegations but look at the ground reality. Hundreds of such incidents have happened, that is why internet is banned.”
He was asked by the anchor as to why the chief minister did not know of the incident. He then said that the police will take action on the case.
Note: Additional details were added to this article after it was published.