US expresses horror over Manipur attack, backs Indian govt’s pursuit of justice

Imphal West: Locals on alert amid ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur, at Phayeng in Imphal West district, Tuesday, July 25, 2023. Tensions were triggered after a video surfaced showing two women from one of the warring communities being paraded naked by a few men. (PTI Photo/Rishikesh Kumar)(PTI07_25_2023_000014A)

In the wake of an appalling attack on two women in Manipur, a high-ranking official from the Biden administration has expressed the US’s shock and condemnation, voicing support for the Indian Government’s efforts to bring the culprits to justice.
The horrifying video, which emerged on July 19 and was reportedly filmed on May 4 in Kangpokpi district, depicts two women being subjected to extreme abuse and molestation by a group of men. The clip has provoked widespread outrage across India. “We were shocked and horrified by the video of this extreme attack on two women in Manipur. We convey our profound sympathies to the survivors of this act of gender-based violence and support the Indian Government’s efforts to seek justice for them,” stated Vedant Patel, Deputy Spokesperson of the State Department, during a press briefing on Tuesday.
Patel’s comments came in response to a question regarding the recent violence in Manipur posed by a Pakistani journalist. He also noted that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described such violence against women as shameful in any civilised society.
Encouraging peaceful and inclusive resolution efforts, Patel said, “We encourage authorities to respond to the humanitarian needs and protect the lives and property of all groups.”
Following the attack, Prime Minister Modi publicly expressed his anger and pain, stating that the incident shamed 1.4 billion Indians. He assured the country that those responsible will face justice. Meanwhile, the opposition Congress Party criticised his remarks as “too little, too late”.
Since the eruption of ethnic violence in Manipur on May 3, over 160 people have been killed and several injured. The conflict began during a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’, organised to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Despite the ongoing violence, Manipur’s small diaspora in the US is advocating for an end to the conflict and calling for the imposition of the president’s rule to restore law and order in the state. “There is a very simple solution in India itself, which is the president’s rule. The government for reasons of their own have decided not to do or say anything about this,” Florence Lowe, president of the North Manipur Tribal Association, told PTI.
Lowe, who spent her childhood in Uttar Pradesh and now teaches at the University of Texas at Dallas, formed the North American Manipur Tribal Association in May to unify the Manipuri diaspora against the violence in their home state. She voiced her intent to raise awareness among US lawmakers and international organisations like the World Bank, the UN, and the UNHCR.