Eta underscored the need for urgent investigation and action in the case of the alleged forced marriage that took place at Luwangsaangbam Makha Leikai, Heingang on December 10, 2021, a video clip of which has gone viral on social media platforms.
Eta Northeast Women’s Network (Eta) has approached Manipur State Commission for Women, Manipur Human Rights Commission and Manipur police to investigate the matter of an “alleged forced marriage”, a video clip of which has gone viral on social media platforms.
In letters written to the three state bodies, Eta underscored the need for urgent investigation and action in the case of the alleged forced marriage that took place at Luwangsaangbam Makha Leikai, Heingang on December 10, 2021, a video clip of which has gone viral on social media platforms.
“As you are likely to be aware, heart-rending and shockingly painful videos of the alleged forced marriage of a girl at Luwangsangbam Makha Leikai, which appears to have taken place on 10th December 2021, have gone viral across Manipur. The videos seem to depict the bride stated to be a 22-year-old woman, being forced to marry a 44-year-old man from Keirang Maning Leikai,” Eta said in the letter.
The videos allegedly show the bride resisting the attempt to proceed with the marriage ceremony tearing the garland provided to her. This is met with abuses and condemnation from the surrounding crowd directed at the bride, who is then seemingly rendered unconscious with shock and distress. The so-called ceremony then appears to continue without any expression of consent from the bride, with force being applied by the persons surrounding her to complete the exchange of garlands, it added.
“Given the contents of these disturbing videos, prima facie there seems to be a grave violation of the bride’s human and constitutional rights, and of various laws intended to protect women. We have also sought to learn more about this matter, and have been informed by our own credible sources that the girl was apparently subjected to severe mental trauma for several months prior to the said marriage ceremony, when she was allegedly restrained against her will and not allowed to leave her parental home despite wishing to do so.
“Unfortunately, we are unable to directly reach the girl to verify this, but it is very important that you do so at the earliest in order to ensure her safety, security and wellbeing, failing which there is a strong possibility that she may come to further grave harm.”
Eta also urged the authorities that the alleged perpetrators be brought to book and prosecuted with the full force of the law, so that justice is done and other persons are deterred from committing similar violations in the future.
“Given the imminent danger to the life and liberty of the purported victim, any delay is likely to be highly prejudicial,” it said, and further urged the authorities to investigate the matter fully and expeditiously in line with the applicable laws, and assure that “The girl is afforded due protection and the ability to make a free and informed choice without any coercion, undue pressure or force being applied to her.”
Eta Northeast Women’s Network (“Eta”), are a non-profit organisation committed to the social and economic empowerment of women from Northeast India, with over 4,000 women members, mostly hailing from Manipur.