Indian Americans condemn horrific attacks on Kuki-Zomi women in Manipur
Washington, DC (July 20, 2023) – The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) has strongly condemned the vicious sexual violence against Kuki women which transpired on May 4 in India’s northeastern state of Manipur. As part of a broader unfolding conflict between Meiteis and Kuki-Zomi tribals which has left an estimated 130 dead and 35,000 displaced, enraged mobs of Meitei men forced several Kuki women to take off their clothes, then proceeded to gangrape a 21-year-old woman, and murder her brother. The attack was captured on video, and went viral on social media platforms earlier this week.
“Indian Americans of conscience must raise their voices to oppose the brutal violence in Manipur,” said Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of IAMC. “These attacks on Kuki women are a harrowing reminder of the divisiveness embedded in the heart of Indian politics by its current sectarian, Hindu-supremacist regime. Prime Minister Modi’s silence until now has added fuel to the flames in Manipur.”
In addition to the May 4 attack, the violence in Manipur has resulted in the destruction of tens of thousands of homes and hundreds of churches. Kuki-Zomi Christians, the politically weaker minority in Manipur, have borne the brunt of the violence. Victims of the conflict allege that state police have stood by while their weapons were raided and used to arm militant groups.
News of the mob’s vicious sexual violence was initially delayed due to the local governing party, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, blocking internet access in the region.
“The coordinated sexual violence and the indifference of the state we are seeing today recall the gang-rapes of Muslim women which transpired during the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, and which have recurred with startling regularity ever since,” said IAMC President Mohammed Jawad. “The root causes of the pogrom then and now are the same: the divisive, religious nationalist ideology propagated by the ruling BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).”
The Indian government has opposed international pressure to intervene and prevent further violence. Earlier this month, the Indian government criticized a statement from the European Parliament tying the violence to, “politically motivated, divisive policies promoting Hindu majoritarianism”, calling it “unacceptable interference.”
“Indian Americans must mobilize to provide humanitarian relief to the tens of thousands displaced in Manipur and to pressure American politicians to do the same,” said Mohammed Jawad.