India Supreme Court to monitor investigations into Manipur sexual violence

Move comes after two women alleged gang rape following a video of them being paraded naked by a mob as sectarian violence escalates.

A demonstrator holds up a placard during a protest against the alleged sexual assault of two tribal women in the eastern state of Manipur, India [Amit Dave/Reuters]

India’s Supreme Court said it will monitor all cases of violence against women committed during three months of sectarian clashes in the northeastern state of Manipur since May.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said on Monday that it will appoint a retired senior police official to oversee all complaints of sexual violence to be probed by the federal Central Bureau of Investigation.

The retired police official will report back to the Supreme Court, Chandrachud said.

Last month videos of two tribal Kuki women being paraded naked by a mob of allegedly majority Meitei men surfaced, attracting international condemnation. The women said in their police complaints they were later gang-raped.

Since then, there have been several other cases of women being deliberately targeted in violence that has resulted in more than 180 deaths and rendered tens of thousands homeless.

The court has also created a committee of three retired female judges from different high courts to look into the humanitarian issues emerging from the violence.

One of the smallest states in India, Manipur has a population of 3.2 million. Meiteis, who represent 53 percent of the population, reside in the more prosperous valley, while the Kukis, who comprise 16 percent of the population, live largely in the surrounding hills.

Since the clashes broke out in early May, the situation has become entrenched, with both sides digging bunkers and using sophisticated weapons to target each other.

Source: Reuters