The Centre for Research and Advocacy (CRA), Manipur on Monday raised serious concerns with the reported assault and harassment of at least eight women allegedly by the central forces at Sabungkhok Khunou in Imphal East, Manipur on Sunday.
Several women were seriously injured in the incident and are being treated at the Yaingangpokpi Primary Health Centre and JNIMS Hospital, Manipur, stated a release signed by its president Sanaton L.
It stated that the injured women were protesting the inaction and failure of the Jat Regiment, one of the Indian security forces deployed in their village, to stop the armed Kuki militants from attacking the Sabungkhok Khunou and peripheral villages since October 2023.
The women villagers asserted that the presence of Central security forces at Sabungkhok Khunou brick field has 'emboldened' the armed Kuki militants, which enjoyed suspension of operation (SoO) with the Government of India, to attack their village and to fire at their village from a closer range with impunity, despite the presence of the security forces.
It said that the womenfolk were demanding the removal of the Jat regiment and other central security forces from Sabungkhok Khunou, to control and stop the armed Kuki militants from attacking their villages and to protect the lives of their villages, including the womenfolk and the children.
The CRA, Manipur urges the Government of Manipur and the Government of India to stop targeting indigenous women and to uphold the human rights of women in Manipur as outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous women and the UN Convention on the elimination of all forms of violence against women, it mentioned.
“The government should consider the demands of the villagers to take urgent steps to control and stop the attacks by armed Kuki militants and to protect the lives and security of the villagers of Sabungkhok Khunou and peripheral villages and initiate an independent investigation to prosecute the security officials involved in the assault on indigenous women," it stated.
It further stated that the government should review the Suspension of Operation signed with the armed Kuki militants for violation of ground rules, and consider the demands of the villagers to demilitarize their land and to repeal emergency laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.