Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh, in an interview with a primetime TV news channel, while being questioned over the delay in taking action over the parade and sexual molestation of two Kuki women, after stripping them naked, blurted out that there are hundreds of similar cases that have been reported in the recent past. “Isiliye internet ban kiya hai (which is the reason why the internet is banned),” he added.
He was speaking on India Today’s prime time news when the anchor questioned him about his government and the police’s ignorance towards the incident.
In the traumatic incident that took place on May 4, an FIR was filed only on May 18, which included charges of gang rape of one of the two women.
The first arrest was made two months later, on Thursday, only after a video of the incident surfaced on social media, followed by outrage, demanding answers.
“How come you did not receive this information before? This incident occurred on May 4 and FIR was registered on May 18,” the anchor asked Biren Singh.
Sounding uncomfortable with the question, the chief minister disclosed, “Many people have died in the violence. There are more than a thousand FIRs lodged.”
When the anchor further questioned him over his ignorance despite being the CM of the state, the chief minister replied curtly, “You have to see the ground reality. There are hundreds of similar cases and that is the reason why the internet is shut off in the state.”
The journalist was cut off in the middle after the phone then immediately disconnected.
Manipur has been witnessing widespread violence between ethnic groups – Meitei and Kuki Zo communities – resulting in large-scale deaths, arson and rapes.
On Wednesday, when the dreadful video of two Kuki Zo tribal women being paraded naked and then allegedly gang-raped surfaced, outrage by the Opposition, netizens and the Supreme Court forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to face the press and address the issue of a riots-trapped Manipur.
“This a shameful incident for any society..who did this and who is responsible is another issue but this has put our nation to shame. I appeal to all chief ministers to tighten law and order. Whether it is Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, or Manipur…the issue of a woman’s honour is above all politics, he said, addressing reporters ahead of the Monsoon session of the Parliament that began today.
Stick back the resignation letter: Netizens to Manipur CM
Reacting strongly over the viral video and Manipur CM’s ‘hundreds of similar cases’ remark, the internet has demanded his resignation.
Various political parties, journalists and individuals have called out the callous behaviours of Biren Singh and the government’s collateral failure to control the situation.