Christian Women, Villages Looted and Assaulted in India: A video posted by a tribal organization has gone viral on the internet. The video showed Christian women being paraded naked and groped before one of them was gang-raped in public in the Manipur State, North-East India.
A list of 12 further assaults on women from the primarily Christian Kuki-Zo tribal community has been published by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum, a coalition of recognized tribes centered in the Churachandpur region of Manipur.
The study states that these incidents only make up a small percentage of the horrifying crimes committed against Kuki-Zo tribal women between May 3 and July 6.
In Manipur since May 3, more than 4,550 homes have been damaged or destroyed, 292 villages have been burned, 129 Kuki-Zo people have been confirmed dead, and 357 churches and other religious buildings have been damaged or destroyed.
Tension was sparked by a Manipur High Court decision from April encouraging the state administration to consider putting the Meitei group on the scheduled tribe list. The likelihood of this action raising the possibility of the Meiteis acquiring land in tribal lands alarmed tribal organizations.
On May 3, 22 tribal Christians from four houses, including two who were gravely ill, found refuge at Mrs. Thangi Hmar’s house in the Meitei-majority Imphal region. When the radical organizations Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun arrived, a mob of roughly 100 people led by them threatened and looted before telling them to leave.
Thari Hmar, a woman, vanished in the meantime. When her son Sasang came home, he discovered her being viciously attacked by the mob. He was pushed down a drain while attempting to save his mother. She continued to be attacked until a narrow escape was made possible by local ladies. However, their two dogs perished, and their house was burned down.
Mrs. Gouzavung, an under secretary for the Manipur government, and her family sought safety at a relative’s home that same evening. They made the decision to go to a relief camp the following morning. They were stopped in their tracks by a crowd of between 200 and 250 people. Her official ID was shown, yet nothing was done despite her cries.
When the crowd set their car on fire, they were discovered in their hiding place. Her son, Goulalsang, was brutally attacked while on the road. Gouzavung was praised by the audience for her heroic efforts to keep her son safe. Tragically, they were both killed in this brutal attack. The daughter-in-law of Gouzavung was seriously hurt, but Kim, an aunt, her young grandson, and their cousin were able to escape through the car’s trunk.
On May 4, the Meitei group launched a savage assault with axes, knives, and weapons against B. Phainom Village. The settlement was burned down and pillaged. The Manipur Police spared a few villagers, but they were later handed over to the crowd. The mob raped the women while forcing the women to walk naked after killing the group’s men first. Among the dead were a woman’s father and her younger sibling. A video of the incident surfaced online on July 26 and sparked an uproar.