Testimony of Manipur victims being taped before magistrates

More than 80 officials have now been roped in, including women officers who are interacting with the victims of sexual violence

August 24, 2023 08:25 pm | Updated 09:22 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Women from the first lot of displaced families stand in a queue at the Temporary Shelter Home in the Sajiwa Jail Complex, which was inaugurated by Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on August 23, 2023.

Women from the first lot of displaced families stand in a queue at the Temporary Shelter Home in the Sajiwa Jail Complex, which was inaugurated by Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on August 23, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has started getting the statements of Manipur sexual assault victims recorded before magistrates as part of the ongoing probe into the Manipur ethnic violence cases.

Following an announcement by Union Home Minister Amit Shah that the CBI would investigate cases connected to the violence, the agency has registered 27 cases so far. They include several alleged incidents of sexual assault on women victims.

Accordingly, more than 80 officials and personnel have now been roped in to investigate the cases, record witness statements, and gather evidence. Among them are women officials who are interacting with the victims of sexual assault. Statements of the victims are being recorded before magistrates as provided under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The CBI officials are in the process of collecting medical reports of the victims for examination. “Despite various constraints, all possible measures are being taken to ensure that the cases are properly investigated to identify and prosecute those involved,” said a government official.

Previously, the investigating team had also gone to the Pangei Police Training School near NG college in Imphal, and the Churachandpur district, where arms and ammunition were looted from an armoury.

On August 7, the Supreme Court had appointed Dattatray Padsalgikar, former Maharashtra Director-General of Police (DGP), to supervise both the CBI probe and the investigation being conducted by the State authorities. It is learnt that the CBI is in regular touch with Mr. Padsalgikar in this regard.

Since May, when the violence broke out in Manipur, the State police have registered over 6,500 cases. In the Supreme Court, the State government had earlier submitted that it would constitute 42 special investigation teams for conducting the probe into the cases.

Earlier this month, the Union Home Minister had appealed to the Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur to abjure violence and instead, have a dialogue with each other and the Central government. He traced the sequence of events to the military junta’s takeover in neighbouring Myanmar, which was opposed by the Kuki Democratic Front there. That led to an influx of Kuki refugees into Mizoram and Manipur.

He cited insecurities among the Meitei community about a possible demographic change and a rumour that 56 refugee camps were being designated as forest villages. The Union Home Minister said a court order over an old proposal to examine ways of declaring the Meitei community as tribal had made the matter worse.

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