By Alinda Merrie Jan

A video that recently surfaced on social media has brought attention back to Manipur. Two naked Kuki women being paraded by a Meitei mob and led to a field in Nongpok Sekmai in Thoubal district has hit the conscience of the nation. Within hours of the video going viral, the Manipur Police responded with a statement that claims that the incident happened on May 4, 2023 and that an FIR had been filed against unknown miscreants, carefully hiding the fact that the FIR was filed on May 18.

This was followed by several mainstream media editors and journalists, who were silent until then, to come up with adjectives to explain their shock, and analyse the causes of this particular incident with a clear timeline, which had evaded celebrated journalism for 77 days. This warrants special mention since only a handful of journalists were committed to reporting the violence in Manipur so far.

The Minister for Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani, took to Twitter to give a carefully worded, but vague statement that condemns the horrific event and proclaims the assurance that the Chief Minister of Manipur, N. Biren Singh, had given her regarding punishing the criminals. The Prime Minister, outside Parliament before the beginning of the Monsoon session, said that 140 crore Indians were in shame at the horrific incident, again careful to not speak much, just enough for the nation to see that he had acknowledged the issue.

How did the violence that started in Manipur on May 3 evade mainstream media and public discussions? How can a state in a democratic republic be up in arms, witnessing horrific violence for more than two months? Why have the Union government and the state government been largely silent regarding the violence? The answers to the given questions are not as complex as one might think…

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