‘National shame’, Manipur CM ‘must go’: Editorials on the viral video of Kuki women

Telegraph, which also had a hard-hitting front page, said Modi’s silence had cost Manipur ‘greatly’.

WrittenBy:NL Team
Date:
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After the horrors of the viral video from Manipur, the media raced to get ahead of the story. The video showed two Kuki women being paraded naked by a mob. They were later sexually assaulted; one of them was also gangraped.

Though the incident had taken place over 75 days ago, it had slipped through the cracks. But after the video went viral on social media on Wednesday, reactions poured in.

Several newspapers today had editorials on what had happened. Given that the incident finally pushed the prime minister to make a comment on the Manipur violence for the first time, The Telegraph also had a striking front page today:

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The Telegraph’s editorial lampooned Modi’s silence, saying it had “cost Manipur and India greatly”.

“A word of condemnation from the prime minister and a strict warning against mischief earlier – Manipur has been burning since May – could have made a difference on the ground.” Citing the BJP’s mishandling of the pandemic and demonetisation too, Telegraph described Modi’s government as being “intoxicated with its majoritarian triumphalism”.

“That it continues to win elections still can be attributed to its masterful – perverse – employment of deflection and other, equally troublesome, tactics. But even these dark arts of evasion are failing in Manipur.”

Indian Express’s editorial was headlined “Nation’s shame”. It said Modi’s words “will now be tested by the action taken on the ground”.

“Quite simply, CM Singh and his government do not inspire confidence in this fraught moment, and look incapable of leadership. Home Minister Amit Shah, who had toured the state in May, should know this,” the editorial said. “...the government needs to win public trust, to signal that it is on the side of the law, not the accused. And that in these divided times, the only side it will take will be of the Constitution.”

And so, Express said, chief minister Biren Singh “must go” – “he doesn’t inspire confidence, he suggests only complicity and incompetence”.

The Times of India editorial this morning had “questions for Biren”, mainly why there was no “stringent action until a video went viral on social media”. It also pointed out that the internet shutdown in the state may have resulted in the video not surfacing earlier.

To ensure the ethnic divide in the state “doesn’t get worse”, TOI said the central government must send a message “identifying and punishing those directly responsible for the appalling delay in investigation and GOI sternly demanding an answer from the Manipur CM why the police under him acts the way it does”.

Deccan Chronicle’s editorial said the video generated so much outrage that “even Prime Minister Narendra Modi was forced to respond”.

“The video of mob fury is proof of the horrors that took place when the powder keg went off, but it is not the entire story of Manipur. The home minister may even have interceded actively to try and bring peace. What needs to be done now is to gather all the stakeholders together on one platform and encourage an open dialogue…”

Hindustan Times published an editorial headlined “In Manipur, fix accountability”.

“The Manipur government must be held accountable for its laxity – and some even say complicity – in dealing with brutality. Mere platitudes are a poor substitute for statesmanship and governance. Indeed, it isn’t clear why he is still the CM of the state.”

It also pointed out that “violence shouldn’t have to trend for justice to be initiated”.

Meanwhile, several regional media outlets featured the news about the viral video prominently.

Manipur dailies Sangai Express and People’s Chronicle published a report on the video on their front page, based on the police statement issued late on Wednesday.  

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Among other reactions over the last two days, the National Commission for Women had taken suo motu cognisance of the video and urged the police to take “appropriate action”. But Newslaundry learned that the NCW had been sent a formal complaint about the incident 38 days before – but did nothing. Read our report here.

Also see
article imageExclusive: NCW ignored complaint linked to Kuki women video filed 38 days ago
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