Forcing Justice

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will face a vote of no-confidence in parliament after a lawmaker from Congress, India’s main opposition party, introduced a motion this week over the ongoing violence in the northeastern state of Manipur, Al Jazeera reported.

On Wednesday, Om Birla, the speaker of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, approved the motion, saying he would decide over the next few days when the debate and vote would take place.

Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its Hindu nationalist allies have an overwhelming majority in parliament, guaranteeing his political survival. But opposition leaders hope the move will force the Indian leader to address the ethnic clashes in Manipur, which have led to the deaths of more than 130 people and the displacement of tens of thousands more.

The ethnic tensions in the small state of 3.2 million people are seen as a security and political failure by the Modi administration. Modi is up for reelection in May 2024.

Modi had not commented in public about the violence until last week, when videos showing two women from the Kuki tribe being paraded naked and sexually assaulted by a mob of Meitei men in Manipur surfaced, sparking national outrage.

Modi condemned the mass assault as “shameful” and promised tough action against the perpetrators.

The violence in Manipur began on May 3 after a court ordered the state government to consider extending special economic benefits and quotas in government jobs and education enjoyed by the tribal Kuki people – who are mainly Christian – to the majority Hindu Meitei population as well.

The incident involving the women occurred in May. But police only made arrests after the videos surfaced and went viral, causing demonstrations to break out across India last week.

Some took matters into their own hands, Agence France Press reported, detailing how “furious” women – from the Meitei community, like the accused – set fire to the houses of one man accused of involvement, and broke down the walls and roof of the house with sticks. In another incident, another mob of women destroyed the house of a second suspect, reducing it to ash.

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