In a startling revelation, before the disturbing video depicting the stripping and sexual assault of three Kuki-Zomi women in Manipur on May 4 went viral, a concerted effort was made by village elders and a radical Meitei outfit to have the video deleted from the phone of Yumlembam Jiban, the 18-year-old who had filmed it, according to sources.
Jiban, one of the seven individuals arrested by Manipur police in relation to the assault case in Thoubal district, was advised by village seniors to delete the video multiple times, as disclosed by a relative from Nongpok Sekmai Awang Leikai village. The video was eventually sent to his cousin, who further shared it, leading to the involvement of the Meitei radical group, Arambai Tenggol. In June, the group reviewed phones, leading to the deletion of the video from Jiban’s device.
The police have also apprehended 19-year-old Yumlembam Nungsithou, Jiban’s cousin, who received the video. The incident has prompted arrests beyond the two involved, including the son of a retired government school principal, a mechanic shop worker, and a daily wage laborer.
Amidst the investigation, the case has been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), prompting some support from villagers. Protests against the arrest of 29-year-old Arun Khundongbam have emerged, with his family denying his involvement and seeking community support.
In a related event, the village of Pechi Awang Leikai gained attention when village leaders and Meira Paibis set fire to the home of the first accused, 32-year-old Huirem Herodash Meitei. The act was carried out to express disapproval of the incident, although leaders now plan to construct a new house for the accused’s family.
The village leader acknowledges the potential involvement of more men from various villages who joined forces, prompted by false rumors about the rape of Meitei nurses. The rumors were later debunked, further highlighting the complexities surrounding the incident.
The shocking assault video has triggered a series of events that have not only ignited public outrage but also exposed deep-rooted issues within the community. As investigations continue and legal proceedings unfold, the ramifications of this disturbing incident are expected to have lasting effects on both the victims and the community as a whole.
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