A video that has gone viral on social networks has outraged all of India and forced Narendra Modi to come out of silence.
Ten days ago, the Indian Prime Minister was the guest of honor at the July 14 parade on the Champs-Elysées. After new Rafale orders and a legion of honor awarded by the French president, he now has to face a wave of criticism on his return to India.
It all started with a video, which appeared last week on social networks, which caused a wave of indignation throughout the country and forced Narendra Modi to break a deafening silence which had lasted for two months, since the state of Manipur was on the brink of civil war.
Naked women, gang rapes, beheadings
In this video, we see a crowd of armed men, of the dominant ethnic group in this state, the Meiteis, mainly Hindu, who forcibly take away two women, who are of the Kuki minority, mainly Christian. The two women are naked, harassed, humiliated, molested. The scene is difficult to sustain.
The recording dates from May, in the midst of an explosion of violence between these two communities. Provisional assessment: at least 120 dead and 60,000 displaced, dozens of churches and villages burned, gang rapes, beheadings… But these abuses have not given rise to any investigation by local authorities, who have cut off the Internet for the past two months for security reasons. It is also for this reason that this video is only released now.
These images shook India, leading to mobilizations and demonstrations as far away as New Delhi, in particular by women’s rights activists. The Prime Minister has been accused by the opposition Congress party of turning a blind eye to this violence because the Meiteis are predominantly Hindu, because the regional government of Manipur is in the hands of the Prime Minister’s Hindu nationalist party, because the leader of this government is himself Meiteis and a member of Narendra Modi’s party. Even the Indian Supreme Court has promised to act “if the government does not”.
Silent for two months on this inter-ethnic violence, the Indian Prime Minister finally broke his silence, calling the video “a shame for any civilized society” and for “the whole Indian nation”. “The indignation comes late”, underlined several Indian newspapers, while several arrests have finally taken place in recent days. “It took a scandal on social networks for the state apparatus to move,” summed up the Times of India.
Before this video, before the arrival in Paris of the Indian Prime Minister for July 14, the European Parliament had sounded the alarm, by adopting a resolution calling on India to protect the minorities of Manipur. “Internal affairs”, had then retorted the Indian diplomacy.
This article is originally published on francetvinfo.fr