Manipur gang rape: State had not granted sanction to prosecute under sections of promoting enmity, says CBI chargesheet

The CBI has also not made any fresh arrests besides the six already arrested by Manipur police; three of the accused are still absconding

Updated - May 01, 2024 04:40 pm IST

Published - April 30, 2024 06:01 pm IST - New Delhi

 Police personnel stand guard during a protest by women in Manipur. File.

Police personnel stand guard during a protest by women in Manipur. File. | Photo Credit: ANI

The Manipur government had not granted sanction to prosecute the accused under Section 153A for promoting enmity among different groups on the grounds of race, at the time the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed its chargesheet in the Manipur case of gang rape and sexual assault and parading of two Kuki-Zo women by a mob of the Meitei community in the first few days of the ethnic conflict in the State.

The chargesheet also revealed that the CBI had not made any fresh arrests in the case apart from the six accused first arrested by the Manipur Police after videos of the incident went viral on social media months after it had happened. It also added that three of the accused in the case, identified by the two victims, were still absconding.

Also read | Before parading women naked in Manipur, mob killed people and torched houses, June 21 FIR states

The chargesheet, filed in October 2023, five months after the incident, said that the federal probe agency was awaiting sanction to prosecute the accused under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between groups on grounds of race, religion, etc.) as required by provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Manipur government has not responded to questions about whether the prosecution sanction has been granted yet.

The CBI’s chargesheet in the case, which has now become public, concluded that the accused persons conspired with a large number of unidentified people of the Meitei community to execute a series of pre-planned crimes, including violence, arson, sexual assault, and murder, which specifically targetted the tribal community.

This particular case from May 4 came to light only months later when a video of the incident, recorded by the perpetrators, went viral on social media and public outrage forced the Police to register an FIR. The case was then transferred to the CBI by the Supreme Court, along with other similar cases of sexual assault that occurred during the ongoing conflict in Manipur.

The agency added that the law and order situation in the State, given the ethnic conflict, was such that it was forced to conduct the Test Identification Parade (TIP) by showing photographs of the accused to the victims.

During its investigation, the CBI established the victims’ testimonies, which pointed to the alleged complicity of Manipur police personnel, as reported by The Hindu when the case came to light last year. The chargesheet highlighted that at one point, the two women had approached a Police Gypsy and even managed to enter the vehicle, pleading with them to drive away.

However, the CBI said the driver of the police vehicle refused to turn the engine on, telling the victims that “there is no key”. But moments later, the driver drove the victims towards the mob, from where people in the mob pulled the victims out of the vehicle and proceeded to sexually assault them and parade them after disrobing them, as the police personnel fled the scene.

The CBI added that the victims, along with their family members, were fleeing from their village when it was attacked by members suspected to belong to outfits such as Arambai Tenggol, Meetei Leepun, Kangleipak Kanba Lup, etc. They were eventually spotted by the Meitei mob as they fled, who then attacked them. Two men, who were fleeing with this group and related to one of the victims of sexual assault, were also beaten to death by the mob, the CBI said.

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