For a country that prides itself as the cradle of civilizations, the brutality unleashed on the young women is something that the barbarians of yester years would not have been capable of or even dreamt of.
What happened in Manipur on May 4 or what is taking place in that Northeastern state is something beyond the pale and simply unconscionable. For a part of the country that was supposedly cut off on account of security concerns—or whatever—there is still very little to indicate that neither the state government nor the Center has come to full grips with the existing and evolving situations. Sweeping the horrific infoldings under the carpet of fake news or worse still pretending that everything is limping back to normality does great disservice to people who have been treated worse than dirt.
The scandalous parading of two naked women who then raped in an open field by hoodlums and thugs and their relatives supposedly done to death for protecting their kin speaks of how low a society can stoop to. In any conflict situation the most endangered are women and female children but this is not a sign for authorities to look the other way in a state of resignation. The fact that law enforcement took nearly three months to file an FIR speaks volumes of the men in khaki who are supposed to be protectors, especially of the weak and most vulnerable.
The Prime Minister rightfully said that the nation hangs its head in shame for what happened in that remote hamlet of Manipur on that fateful day. But how long can a civilized nation keep hanging its head in shame when after every pogrom or genocide the standard refrain is put out? It happened in 1984 after the assassination of Indira Gandhi when murderous hordes went on a killing spree of Sikhs and in 2002 after the Godhra riots, just to mention two instances of downright shame.
For a country that prides itself as the cradle of civilizations, the brutality unleashed on the young women is something that the barbarians of yester years would not have been capable of or even dreamt of. For a state government, or for that matter even the central agencies, there are a number of unanswered questions. For starters, both the state and the center can explain what seems to be a gross intelligence lapse that would have allowed a critically important part of India to be plunged in mayhem. Saying that the state government would seek death penalty for the perpetrators of the violent assault on the women simply will not do. Worse is the argument that rapes occur in other states too. It is not only more shameful but downright preposterous.
The state and the center will have to conduct a no-holds-barred enquiry to find out the underlying causes of the current spiral of violence in Manipur. Right now every thing would only point to the fact that the brutal assault on the women was only the tip of the iceberg; it could be anything including drugs and turf wars related to poppy. The onus is also on the national political opposition to play a constructive role in stabilizing a state that is so critical to the security and strategic imperatives of the country.