‘They made us walk naked, they abused us, they touched us everywhere’: Victim of gang-rape that ‘shamed India’ describes ordeal of two Christian women

'They made us walk naked, they abused us, they touched us everywhere': Victim of gang-rape that 'shamed India' describes ordeal of two Christian women

A victim has described her harrowing ordeal after she and another Christian woman were allegedly stripped and sexually assaulted by a mob of apparently Hindu men in Manipur, northeastern India, where ethnic violence has flared in recent months.

Horrific video showing two naked women being dragged down a road by men before being allegedly raped in a field has sparked outrage across the country.

The victims are said to be two women from the Christian Kuki tribe, aged in their 20s and 60s, and are now safe in a refugee camp after the horrific attack in early May.

One woman told the Associated Press: ‘They forced us to take off our clothes and said we would be killed if we didn’t. Then they made us walk naked. They misbehaved with us. They touched us everywhere… our breasts, our genitals.’

Officials in the northeastern state said the girl was killed while trying to protect her father and brother from a violent mob.

It comes as women in the state set fire to the house of the prime suspect in the attack, police said, as angry protests swept the nation.

Women with torches chant slogans as they take part in a protest demanding the restoration of peace in India’s northeastern state of Manipur.

The harrowing video shows two naked women being dragged down a road in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, while young men grope their genitals as the victims try to pry them from their claws. Image: A video taken from footage showing a crowd of men

The remote state of Manipur has been gripped by a near-civil war since May, which has left 130 dead and seen mobs killing villages and torching homes.

After the video went viral, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke a two-month silence to condemn the brutal attack, saying it had “shame on India” and “the guilty will not be spared”.

‘What happened to the girls of Manipur can never be forgiven,’ Modi said in his first comments on the ethnic clashes in the remote state ruled by his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

‘My heart is full of pain and anger. What has unfolded in Manipur is shameful for any civilized nation,’ he said, urging chief ministers to strengthen law enforcement.

Hours after Modi promised strict action, the main suspect, a resident of Manipur state, was arrested on Thursday.

Three others have been arrested and a police official said they are looking for at least 30 people involved in the crime.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke two months of silence after the video went viral to condemn the brutal attack

One of the accused criminals was identified by NDTV as Whirem Heradas Singh, 32, who was allegedly seen dragging a woman.

If convicted, the men could face the death penalty, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said.

The chief minister added: ‘After watching the video, we have decided to condemn the heinous crime and we call it a crime against humanity…’

Earlier today, women in the state raided the house of a suspect who allegedly dragged two tribal women on the road in May and later incited a mob to rape them and parade them naked, police said on Friday.

The sexual assault took place more than two months ago but gained national attention earlier this week after a short video went viral on social media.

Hemant Pandey, a senior police officer in the capital city of Imphal, said, ‘Local women pelted and burnt parts of the main accused’s house in a village.’

People hold placards during a protest against sexual violence against women and peace in the ongoing caste violence in India’s northeastern state of Manipur.

Women’s rights activists light a candle to protest the ongoing violence against women and girls in the state of Manipur

“We urge women to protest peacefully as there is serious discomfort. We understand their anger,’ he said.

Rights groups had planned protests in several parts of India demanding justice and speedy investigation into the latest incident, raising questions about the safety of women in the country.

“We want to know why the police failed to act quickly when they knew that women were being raped and paraded naked in Manipur,” said Radhika Barman, a student from the eastern city of Kolkata.

The Indian Youth Congress protested against the Manipur incident, with activists holding a candlelight vigil calling for peace in the state.

The party’s state president, Manoj Lubana, criticized the BJP and Modi, saying the prime minister ‘has time to go abroad, but he has not yet gone to conflict-torn states.’

Victims reported being sexually assaulted in May after communal clashes erupted in Manipur.

A burnt-out house shell stands after ethnic clashes and riots in Sugunu, northeastern Indian state of Manipur, on Wednesday.

The fight was sparked by a court order that the government should consider extending special privileges enjoyed by the tribal Kuki people to the majority Meitei community.

At least 140 people have been killed and more than 60,000 people have fled their homes since the violence began.

Houses were set ablaze by mobs in villages, about 4,400 houses were destroyed and 357 churches were burnt down.

The unrest is believed to have stemmed from demands by the mostly Hindu Meitei people for special status that would allow them to buy land in the hills, which are largely populated by Christian Kukis and other tribal groups.

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