MHA unable contact Manipur sexual assault victims, civil societies put up resistancetext_fields
New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has submitted a report to the Supreme Court, detailing the obstacles faced in reaching the victims of a sexual assault incident in Manipur that occurred on May 4.
The affidavit reveals the measures taken to prevent similar incidents and hold the perpetrators accountable. The report was filed by the Home Secretary of India, Ajay Kumar Bhalla, on July 28.
The incident, which came to light on July 19 and was deeply disturbing to the Supreme Court, prompted the MHA to closely monitor the case. To address the situation, the MHA decided to transfer the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and requested that the trial be conducted outside Manipur. However, since only the Supreme Court has the authority to transfer a case outside a state, the MHA has urged the court to issue an order to this effect, along with directions to conclude the trial within six months of the CBI filing the chargesheet.
As part of their response, the MHA has formed an all-women team comprising two psychiatrists and a psychologist from Churachandpur District Hospital to assist the victims. However, reaching the victims has proven challenging due to resistance from civil society organisations in Churachandpur, where the victims and their families sought refuge after the incident.
The report also outlines the state government's rehabilitative measures for the victims, including counselling from trained professionals, education support, assistance with livelihood, vocational training, and suitable job opportunities for the victims and their next of kin.
To ensure the prevention of such incidents in the future, the MHA has made it mandatory for police stations to report all such cases to the Manipur Director General of Police (DGP). These investigations will be supervised by a police officer of the rank of Superintendent of Police under the direct supervision of the DGP. The state government will offer a "suitable reward" for reporting such incidents and providing information leading to the arrest of culprits while ensuring anonymity and security for the informants.
The investigation into the case by the Manipur police has resulted in the arrest of seven individuals since the video of the incident surfaced on July 19. Although a zero FIR had been registered in connection with the incident on May 18, there had been limited progress in the investigation until July 19.
The Supreme Court will now consider the MHA's report and the proposed measures to address the issue and safeguard the interests of the victims.