5500+ CITIZENS RISE IN RAGE AGAINST THE BRUTAL, TARGETTED SEXUAL VIOLENCE
ON KUKI-ZO WOMEN OF MANIPUR!
ISSUE AN OPEN LETTER THAT DEMANDS:
Immediate Dismissal of CM Biren Singh;
Justice for the Victims and Survivors Without Further Delay.
More than 5500+ activists, academics, artists, bureaucrats and ordinary citizens across caste, class, ethnic and gender identities as well as geography, came together to demand justice for the women in Manipur belonging to the predominantly Christian minority Kuki Zo and other communities who have been brutally assaulted.
Their open letter starts with this assertion: We, the undersigned, are outraged that it takes a viral video of unbelievable brutality on the Kuki women of Kangpokpi district for the Chief Minister of Manipur to Act; and for the Prime Minister of India to speak after more than 75 days of deafening silence.
Further, it declares that when the Chief Minister of a state confesses on national television to “hundreds” of rapes and incidents of sexual assault on his watch, it is time for him to go. He has lost the moral right to govern.
The letter also condemns the vicious actions of the state in suppressing the truth. When a fact-finding team of women’s rights activists visited Manipur in the end of June 2023 and reported that several women had experienced sexual violence, instead of investigating and acting against the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes against women, the Manipur state and police filed FIRs against the Fact-Finding team itself, accusing it of working against the interests of the state and the nation.
The letter notes that every institution established for the protection of indigenous peoples and the women of India has failed them through inaction, denial and a refusal to address the violence that still continues in Manipur. This, despite the fact that the survivors of the assault in the video have been determinedly speaking up from the very beginning. In at least 5 other cases of sexual violence, survivors or victim’s kin have given testimonies to citizens and journalists which have appeared in international, national and regional news!
Hence, the open letter appeals to the Supreme Court of India to set up an Independent Enquiry Committee to examine the scale of violence against women, and seeks its intervention and monitoring to ensure the implementation of rule of law in Manipur!
Select names of signatories to the open letter:
Rights groups including: Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, Forum Against Oppression of Women, National Federation of Indian Women, National Alliance of People’s Movements, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Bebaak Collective, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch-AIDMAM, Mahiti Adhikar Manch, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Seng Kynthei, United Against Hate, ANHAD, Akhil Bhartiya Dalit Lekhika Manch, Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, Disability Rights Alliance Tamilnadu, Bailancho Saad, National Hawker Federations, National Council of Women Leaders, National Federation of Dalit Women, Women’s Voice, Indian Solidarity for Academic Freedom
International rights groups including: Indian Labour Solidarity(UK), Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance(UK), North American Manipur Tribal Association(USA), International Council of Indian Muslims (USA), East Indian Defense Committee (Canada), Internacionalista(Brazil),
Eminent academics and activists including: Annie Raja, Aruna Roy, Arundhati Dhuru, Dr Ajita Rao, Kalyani Menon Sen, Zakia Soman, Hasina Khan, Manjula Pradeep, Beena Pallical, Gabriel Dietrich, Nisha Biswas, Kavita Krishnan, Lamtinthang Haokip, Paul Thongkhomang Touthang, Ruth Manorama, Rituparna Borah, Navsharan Singh, Farah Naqvi, Ranjana Padhi, John Dayal, Ghazala Wahab, V Geetha, Rohini Hensman, Nikhil Dey, Cedric Prakash, Kavita Srivastava, Sarojini N, Dr Mira Shiva, Rupali Jadhav, Dev Desai, Amar Jesani, Chayanika Shah, Ashok Choudhary, Anjali Bharadwaj, Koninika Ray, Minakshi Sanyal, Roshmi Goswami, Abirami Jotheeswaran, Natasha Narwal, Anuradha Banerji, Sagari Ramdas, Priyanka Samy, Lalita Ramdas, Gautam Mody, Roma, Dr C. Nongbri, Dr. Anuradha Kapoor, Santosh Dass, Mang Sona, Lakhbir, Shakun Dhondiyakhed, Nadeem Khan, Dr Shakeel, Smitha Sadasivan, Amrita Johri, Sabina Martins, Vinita Balekundri
Senior journalists including: Karan Thapar, Pamela Philipose, Malini Subramaniam, Sandhya Gokhale, Freny Maneckshaw
Eminent Academics including: Uma Chakravarti, Nivedita Menon, Nemthianngai Guite, Vineeta Bal, Mary John, Sadhna Arya, Zoya Hassan, Ritu Menon(writer), Hemlata Mahishwar, Ayesha Kidwai, Pratiksha Baxi, Apoorvanand, Nandita Narrain, Ghanshyam Shah, Brinelle D’souza, Amrita Chhachhi, Mary John, Gaurav Datt, Janaki Nair, Janaki Abraham, Dr Mohan Rao, Lata Singh, Papori Bora, Ramona Sangma, Amrita Shodhan, Radhika Chopra, Nandini Sundar, Banrida Langstieh, Liyo Nyodu, Anirudh Deshpande, Deepika Tandon, Lovitoli Jimo, Sandip K Luis, Maha Shuayb, Honey Oberoi Vahali, Shubhra Gururani, Amina Jamal, Radhika Mongia, Sharmila Purkayastha, Niharika Banerjea
Other well known citizens including: Sr Advocate Anjana Prakash, Army veteran-Retd Col Alok Chakravorty, Retd IPS officer Tayyab Ahmad Khan, Retd civil servant Gautam Mukhopadhyay, Sonia Collaço, European Commission, Civil Servant: Tongkholun, Retd civil servant Iype Mathew, Retd civil servant Sankaran Subbiah, Retd IAS Madhu Bhaduri, Retd UNDP country director Arundhati Das, M P Joseph IAS (Retd), Retd IAS KM Chandrasekhar, Retd Vice Chancellor Koshy Verghese, Shanta Karki Chhetri(IAS), Prakash Nedungadi - AAP Karnataka
Cine, theatre and independent film fraternity including; Anand Patwardhan, Maya Krishna Rao, Jayoo Patwardhan, Anjali Monteiro, Sheba Chhachhi, KP Jayasankar, Satish Shah, Rumi Harish, Sehjo Singh, Yousuf Saeed, Saba Dewan, Smriti Nevatia, Madhuri Bhatia, Farha Khatun, Vani Subramanian, Muraleedharan CK, Purnima Rathod, Dibakar Banerjee, Padma Damodaran
THE LETTER DEMANDS:
The immediate dismissal of N Biren Singh from the post of Chief Minister of Manipur
Immediate arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators involved in the incidents of violence against women, including those identified and reported by the survivors. Strict action against erring police officers for their acts of complicity and enabling of violence against women, their gross negligence and failure in preventing these grave crimes against humanity.
The State must ensure social, emotional, physical and economic rehabilitation of the survivors, dignity, privacy and security from further harassment and violence. The survivors must be provided all legal assistance and enabled to pursue justice for what they have suffered.
Supreme Court of India to set up an Independent Enquiry Committee to examine the scale of violence against women, and seeks its intervention and monitoring to ensure the implementation of rule of law in Manipur.
Fact finding, solidarity and enquiry teams by citizens, activists and civil society must be allowed to visit Manipur and help document these crimes, without fear of state reprisal or police cases.
Restore internet in the state and end the internet/media blackout.
For further information, please email: sahel...@gmail.com
Anuradha (8860824559), Vani (9891128911).
Complete Open Letter and List of Signatories attached to this email.