Special Correspondent

No rehabilitation scheme yet for rape victims

Atrocities on tribal villagers since January 6No medical aid Relief inadequate

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has demanded that armed forces be stationed in two villages in Manipur's Churachandpur district, where 25 young women were raped and molested in January allegedly by armed militants of the United National Liberation Front and the Kangleipak Communist Party.

It is said that on the night of January 16, eighteen militants surrounded Lungthulien, dragged the villagers to a central place and beat them up. They then sexually assaulted 15 young girls. The villagers left for Mizoram, where 650 of them have been accommodated in a camp at Sakawrdi.

First report only in February

Talking to reporters here on Thursday, NCW chairperson Girija Vyas said the first report on molestation was lodged only in February as the villagers had been terrorised. It also came to light that the militants had been camping at Parbung and committing atrocities since January 6, when they raped 10 women. One boy, two of whose sisters were sexually assaulted, was also shot dead.

Inaccessibility

The people of the two villages belong to the Hmar tribe. The area is now under army surveillance and the NCW wants the security forces to stay there as long as needed. Inaccessibility makes it difficult for the villagers to communicate with the rest of the world. The torture and rape victims hardly received any medical aid, said Ms. Vyas.

The State Government has set up a commission, under a retired judge, to investigate the case. But the help that reached the villagers from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, the Deputy Commissioner and elected representatives was inadequate. Even after four months of the incidents, no rehabilitation scheme under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act had been decided upon, said Malini Bhattacharya, NCW member who visited the victims.