The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken up the responsibility of investigating the disturbing incident depicted in the widely circulated video from Manipur. The video captured the appalling sight of two women being paraded naked by a group of Meitei men. The graphic nature of the video, which spread rapidly on social media platforms, drew swift reactions from both the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India. In response to the shocking visuals, the Manipur police had initially registered a case against unidentified armed individuals, charging them with heinous crimes, including abduction, gang rape, and murder. This incident was reported at the Nongpol Sekmai police station in Thoubal district on May 18. Following standard procedures, the Central Bureau of Investigation has now taken over the First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Manipur Police.
To conduct a thorough and impartial investigation, the Central Bureau of Investigation has already deployed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in Manipur, with a DIG-rank officer leading the efforts. The federal agency is no stranger to handling complex cases of violence in the northeastern state, as it is currently overseeing six other such cases. In an effort to ensure comprehensive examination and expert analysis, the CBI plans to augment the team with additional women officers and forensic experts.
The gravity of the situation prompted Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh to make a formal request on July 26 for the CBI to take over the investigation into the sexual assault case. His plea received prompt approval from Union Home Minister Amit Shah on July 27, giving the CBI the mandate to lead the inquiry.
In a parallel move, the central government has approached the Supreme Court to seek the transfer of the trial for the Manipur violence case outside of Manipur. The government’s plea includes a request for the completion of the trial for the entire case, encompassing the gang-rape incident, within a period of six months. Such a transfer of trial venue is intended to ensure an impartial and fair trial, free from any potential influence that may arise from local circumstances.
The state of Manipur has been grappling with ethnic violence since May 3, when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organized in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status. The shocking video that emerged just ahead of the monsoon session of parliament sparked intense outrage in the legislative body, leading the opposition to demand an official statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter. The incident has shone a spotlight on the urgent need to address violence against women and promote the safety and security of all citizens in the region.