Delhi Commission of Women chairperson Swati Maliwal arrived in Imphal on Sunday to meet the women who have been sexually assaulted amidst the ethnic violence in Manipur.

A day before, the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state had recommended that she postpone her visit to the state citing deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

“They say there is a law and order situation there, that is why I want to go,” Maliwal told PTI. “The chief minister is saying there are 100 such cases [of sexual assault]. Has help reached such women? Where are they staying, and under what conditions? Has legal aid, counselling or compensation reached them? Are they being blackmailed? Are they safe? I want to go and help them.”

Cases of sexual assault and gangrapes against women in Manipur attracted national and international attention on July 19 after a video was widely shared on social media showing two Kuki women being paraded naked by a mob. The incident had occurred on May 4 a day after violence between Meitei and Kuki communities were first reported in the state.

The BJP government had imposed an internet shutdown in Manipur on May 3.

After the video drew sharp reactions from the Opposition and the Supreme Court, the Manipur Police started making arrests in the case, even though the first information report was filed on May 18. So far six men have been arrested for the sexual assault and alleged gangrape of one of the women. The sixth person is a juvenile, according to the police.

As questions against his government were raised, N Biren Singh told India Today on Thursday “there are hundreds of similar FIRs here”. It was not clear if the chief minister meant hundreds of cases of sexual assault specifically or violence in general.

Scroll has spoken to four Kuki women who recounted the brutal assaults they survived.

Reports about sexual violence against several other Manipuri women have started to emerge since the video of the sexual assault in Kangpokpi came to light. On May 16, another first information report about alleged abduction, rape and murder of two Kuki women had been filed at the same Saikul police station in Kangpokpi.

Also read: ‘Everyone should know what happened to us’: Four Kuki women recount brutal assaults they survived

After reaching Imphal on Sunday, Maliwal told reporters that she has sought time with the chief minister to talk about the status of sexual assault complainants.

“Several Manipuri women have come to Delhi in order to escape the ongoing violence in the state,” Maliwal said in a letter to Singh, reported PTI. “I wish to discuss issues regarding their welfare as well with your hon’ble self.”

She also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani to visit Manipur which has been wracked with violence killing over 160 persons and displacing 60,000 people withing the state.

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