New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will now probe the gruesome incident where two women were paraded naked by a violent mob, according to an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by the Centre.
Following widespread outrage and a fierce political standoff with the united opposition, the Union Home Ministry referred the case to the CBI. The government has also expressed its intention to hold the trial outside Manipur, a state that has been grappling with violence for the past three months.
As of now, seven individuals have been arrested in connection with the case, with the latest arrest occurring in Thoubal district on Monday.
The affidavit stated that multiple police teams have been deployed across various locations to apprehend the identified culprits. An officer with the rank of Additional Superintendent of Police (SP) has been assigned to investigate the case, under the constant supervision of senior police officials. The Centre emphasized the need for a time-bound trial.
“The Central Government takes a zero-tolerance approach towards crimes against women. Offenses like the present one are deemed heinous and should not only be taken seriously but also ensure that justice is served. This will set a deterrent precedent against crimes against women nationwide,” the Centre added.
The video from Manipur triggered uproar in the parliament just ahead of the monsoon session. The opposition demanded a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but when it became evident that none was forthcoming, they took a different route by pushing for a no-confidence motion against the government. Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla accepted the motion, even though the numbers were in the government’s favor. The opposition’s primary objective was to compel the Prime Minister to address the Manipur issue in the House.
Meanwhile, MPs from the opposition I.N.D.I.A alliance will visit Manipur over the weekend to assess the situation firsthand. The government is expected to seek cooperation for discussing the Manipur situation following the acceptance of the no-confidence motion.
The Centre’s argument revolves around the absence of a precedent, pointing out that in the past, no statement was made in parliament after major violence occurred in Manipur in 1993 and 1997. They contend that there is no basis for the opposition to demand a statement from the Prime Minister in this case.
However, the opposition maintains that given the significant number of deaths, injuries, and displacements that have occurred since the outbreak of ethnic violence in May, addressing the Manipur issue should be an urgent priority for the Prime Minister.
The government’s decision to call for a CBI investigation is perceived as an attempt to redirect attention from the massive public outrage in Manipur, a state ruled by the BJP.