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From Manipur to Rajasthan, Delhi to West Bengal: Women Stripped and Paraded as Society Watches On

Silent Spectators: Unmasking the Horrifying Trend of Women Stripped and Paraded Across India as Society Remains a Mute Witness

By The Probe
New Update


Anand Sharma
SP, Alwar, Rajasthan 

Dr Chinkhanlun Guite
Manipur Tribals’ Forum Delhi

Dr Girija Vyas

Former Chairperson
National Commission for Women (NCW) 

Neeraj Thakur
Senior journalist

Tejpartap Singh

Produced below are the abridged version of the transcripts of the podumentary titled – Silent Spectators: How Society's Conscience Fails Victims of Violence

In a shocking series of incidents, India has been witnessing distressing episodes of violence against women, leading to a collective failure of society's conscience. Incidents like the brutal assault on two women in Manipur, a disturbing episode in Rajasthan, and a horrifying event in West Bengal highlight the alarming brutality faced by women in the country. These incidents, captured on video and spread through viral networks, have sparked outrage and a nationwide debate on the state of women's safety and the law enforcement's role in such cases. This article aims to delve into these harrowing stories, questioning the efficacy of the justice system and society's responsibility to protect its vulnerable citizens.

The Manipur Tragedy: A Dark Day for Humanity

Early in May, violent clashes between the Meitei and Kuki tribes in Manipur led to a horrific incident that shook the nation's conscience. Two women became victims of a heinous act of violence when they were stripped naked and paraded by a group of men. The gruesome video of the incident went viral, showing the women being assaulted, groped, and forced to walk towards an empty field. This disgraceful act not only brought shame to the entire country but also ignited a heated national debate, sparking public outrage.

Unfortunately, this incident was not an isolated one. Advocate Tejpartap Singh narrated another distressing event that occurred on Republic Day in India's capital city last year. A woman was brutally beaten by a group of men, allegedly gang-raped, her head tonsured, and a garland of shoes forced around her neck. She was then paraded on the streets of Delhi, subjected to humiliation and degradation.

The victim of the Delhi incident is still awaiting justice and, shockingly, faced bullying from both her attackers and their legal representatives during court proceedings. 

The Manipur Tribals’ Forum: Seeking Justice Amid Government Apathy

The Manipur incident has brought to light the recurring brutality against women in the region. Dr. Chinkhanlun Guite, the Spokesperson of the Manipur Tribals’ Forum Delhi, emphasized that Manipur has witnessed numerous such incidents in the past, with the region still grappling with horrific crimes against women. However, the situation escalates when the government takes sides, openly displaying support for a particular community, and thereby becoming a party to the crime. 

A Disturbing Incident from Rajasthan: Society's Silence

In 2017, Banswara district in Rajasthan witnessed a shocking incident where a village panchayat ordered the naked parade of a minor girl and a boy. The two, who were cousins, eloped as they faced opposition from their families. Upon being caught, the panchayat decided to teach them a lesson by humiliating them in front of the entire village. The girl was forced into a marriage, while the boy was critically injured during the ordeal. Although the incident created a stir at the time, it soon faded from public memory, reflecting a larger societal apathy towards such incidents.

West Bengal's Shameful Act: A Mob's Misguided Justice

In another appalling incident from West Bengal, two women were accused of theft, leading to a mob violently assaulting and stripping them naked. Numerous onlookers stood by as silent spectators, while the women endured unimaginable horrors. This incident highlights not only the lack of effective law enforcement but also the abysmal state of society's conscience. 

The Downfall of Society's Conscience

These incidents are not isolated occurrences but rather a grim reminder of the disturbing realities that persist in the country. Neeraj Thakur, a senior journalist, rightly points out that such incidents reflect a deeper problem in society, where people either fear taking action or even derive perverse pleasure from witnessing such brutality. The advent of social media has made it easier for such incidents to reach the public eye, compelling authorities to take action, but the deeper issue lies in the lack of collective conscience that allows such crimes to happen in the first place.

The Failing Justice System and Society's Role

The disturbing incidents discussed in this article raise serious questions about the effectiveness of the law enforcement agencies and the justice delivery system. Dr. Girija Vyas, former Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, points out that justice requires five essential steps - an upright law, its proper implementation, the role of society, media, and investigative agencies. However, in most of these incidents, all five aspects seem to be failing.

As a nation, India must come to terms with the harrowing reality faced by its women. The incidents described here are just a glimpse of the many that occur regularly across the country. Society must reflect on its collective conscience and confront the culture of impunity that enables such acts to persist. The justice system needs to ensure that perpetrators are swiftly brought to book, and society must foster an environment where victims are supported, not further victimised.

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