In a recent development, India has rejected remarks made by United Nations experts concerning the ongoing violence in Manipur, characterizing the statement as “unwarranted, presumptive, and misleading.” India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations released a statement, asserting that the experts’ comments stemmed from a lack of understanding about the situation in Manipur and the measures taken by the Indian government to address it.
The statement from the UN experts, titled ‘India: UN Experts Alarmed by Continuing Abuses in Manipur,’ expressed deep concern about the violence in Manipur and the deteriorating situation for religious and ethnic minorities in the country. The experts raised issues about the sluggish and insufficient response by the Indian government, including law enforcement agencies, to curb the violence and hate speech in Manipur.
The UN experts were particularly appalled by reports and images depicting gender-based violence against women and girls, predominantly from the Kuki ethnic minority. These reports included instances of gang rape, public humiliation, severe beatings leading to death, and the burning of victims, both alive and deceased. The violence appeared to be incited and justified by hateful and inflammatory speech, both online and offline.
Moreover, the experts expressed concerns about the criminalization and harassment of human rights defenders in Manipur. They urged the Indian government to intensify relief efforts in the affected areas and address the widespread human rights violations.
According to the experts, by mid-August 2023, approximately 160 people had been killed, mostly from the Kuki ethnic community, with over 300 others injured. The conflict also resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of people, the destruction of numerous homes and churches, and the loss of livelihoods due to damaged farmland and crops.
In response to these allegations, India emphasized its commitment to dealing with law-and-order situations in accordance with the principles of legal certainty, necessity, proportionality, and non-discrimination. The government rejected the characterization of its response as slow and inadequate, asserting that it is taking measures to address the situation effectively.
The conflict in Manipur has raised concerns internationally, with calls for greater efforts to protect the rights and safety of ethnic and religious minorities in the region. However, India’s response underscores its determination to handle the situation while maintaining the rule of law and respecting human rights.