Washington | The US is "shocked and horrified" by the video of an extreme attack on two women in Manipur and supports the Indian Government's efforts to seek justice for them, a senior Biden administration official has said.
The video showing two women being paraded naked and molested by a group of men on May 4 in Kangpokpi district surfaced on July 19, attracting condemnation countrywide.
“We were shocked and horrified by the video of this extreme attack on two women in Manipur. We convey our profound sympathies to the survivors of this act of gender-based violence and support the Indian Government's efforts to seek justice for them,” Vedant Patel, Deputy Spokesperson of the State Department, told reporters at his daily news conference on Tuesday.
Patel was responding to a question asked by a Pakistani reporter on the violence in Manipur.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself noted that such violence against women is shameful in any civilised society, Patel said.
"And as we have previously stated, we encourage a peaceful and inclusive resolution to the violence in Manipur and encourage authorities to respond to the humanitarian needs and protect the lives and property of all groups,” Patel added.
In his first public comments on the situation in Manipur, Prime Minister Modi last week expressed pain and anger over the incident, saying it has shamed 140 crore Indians and asserted that the guilty will not be spared even as the Congress Party termed his remarks "too little, too late".
More than 160 people have lost their lives, and several have been injured since ethnic violence broke out in the state on May 3, when a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.
Meanwhile, the small Manipuri diaspora in the United States has sought an immediate end to violence in the state and the imposition of the president's rule, which it said is important to restore law and order in Manipur.
“I am so tired of talking about this issue. I am so exhausted talking about this issue. … What can we do? Why are we as a world, as people allowing this to happen? There is a very simple solution in India itself, which is the president's rule. The government for reasons of their own have decided not to do or say anything about this,” Florence Lowe, president of the North Manipur Tribal Association told PTI in an interview.
Adjunct Professor of Digital Production Management at the University of Texas at Dallas, Florence is the daughter of a former Indian Police Service Official of Uttar Pradesh cadre.
Born in Manipur, Lowe spent most of her childhood in Uttar Pradesh. In May she formed the North American Manipur Tribal Association to bring the hill-tribe people from her state together under the banner of one platform to protest against the violence in the state of their origin.
“They're letting the fires burn. At least in the US what we are trying to do is to raise awareness with our Congress people and our Senators and with world organisations like the World Bank, the UN, the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and so on,” Lowe said.