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DCW Chief Reaches Manipur, Urges PM Modi, Smriti Irani To Visit Violence-Hit State 'Immediately'

Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal's visit to violence-hit Manipur comes days after a video showing two women being paraded naked by a mob surfaced on social media.

New Delhi: Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal arrived in violence-hit Manipur on Sunday, a day after the state government allegedly denied her permission for the visit. She said she has sought time from Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh for a meeting and that she wants to interact with survivors of sexual assault in the northeastern state. She also requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani to visit Manipur immediately. Her visit comes days after a video showing two Manipur women being paraded naked by a mob surfaced on social media.

"Just landed in Manipur. I've sought time from CM N Biren Singh ji. I hope he accepts my request at the earliest," Maliwal said on Twitter.

Speaking to the news agency ANI after landing at the Imphal airport, she said that she wants to meet the sexual abuse survivors and see if they have got legal aid, counselling or any compensation. The DCW chief also appealed to the state government saying that she has reached there to help the people of Manipur.

"Please allow me to do that. I have not come here to do politics. I request PM Modi and the Women and Child Development Minister (Smriti Irani) to visit Manipur immediately. I will also try and meet the Governor," Maliwal said.

Earlier on Saturday, the DCW chief had alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Manipur had refused to let her visit the state to interact with the survivors of sexual violence.

"Manipur Govt recommended I consider postponing my visit due to law and order situation. After deliberation on their suggestion, have decided to fly to Imphal as planned. Sought time from Manipur CM. Will meet him and request him to come along to visit the sexual assault survivors," Maliwal said in a tweet.

She also shared a copy of a letter written to the Manipur chief minister on Sunday, urging him to facilitate her visit and assuring him that she would not do anything to create problems for his government.

"I seek an urgent meeting with your hon'ble self to discuss the extremely pertinent issue of the human rights violations and sexual assault cases occurring in Manipur.... Several Manipuri women have come to Delhi in order to escape the ongoing violence in the state. I wish to discuss issues regarding their welfare as well with your hon'ble self," she said in the letter to CM N Biren Singh.

Maliwal also sought the chief minister's support in visiting the violence-affected relief camps where the victims of sexual assault are presently staying.

"I request you to kindly issue directions to the officers to facilitate my visit. As a fellow citizen of this country and the head of a statutory body protecting women and girls, I appeal to your hon'ble self to aid me in providing help and support to the sisters of Manipur. I assure you that I shall not be doing anything that creates a problem for your government during my visit to the state," she said.

"I assure you that I shall leave no stone unturned to support the Manipur government in its mandate to protect the rights and dignity of the women and girls of the state," she added.

Maliwal said a video clip purportedly showing inhuman atrocities against women and girls in the northeastern state has shocked the entire country and she wished to ascertain their well-being and provide support to them.

The DCW chief said she had written to Singh on July 20 and to the Manipur Police chief on July 21 regarding her visit to the state to interact with the survivors of sexual violence.

"A letter dated 21.07.2023 was sent to DM, Imphal who forwarded the same to Joint Secretary (Home) with the request to provide necessary support to the undersigned (Maliwal) and her team. 

The DM also gave us the contact numbers of the Joint Secretary (Home) who confirmed to us that we can travel to Manipur and he shall provide the necessary support to us in visiting the relief camps. Subsequently, we planned our travel to Imphal," Maliwal said in the letter.

"However, suddenly we received an email from the Joint Secretary (Home) requesting us to consider postponing our visit in view of the current law and order situation in Manipur," she said.

The Manipur Police has arrested five men and apprehended a juvenile in connection with the May 4 parading of two women naked in Kangpokpi district.