India on Monday said that the report of United Nations experts on the alleged human rights violations in Manipur was “unwarranted, presumptive and misleading”, reported PTI.
In the note verbale issued to the Special Procedures Branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Indian mission at the United Nations claimed that the situation in the northeastern state is peaceful.
Over 195 people have been killed since the conflict broke out between the Meiteis and the Kukis in Manipur on May 3. Nearly 60,000 persons have also been forced to flee their homes. The state has reported cases of rape and murder, and mobs have looted police armoury and set several homes on fire despite the heavy presence of central security forces.
Opposition parties have repeatedly blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre and the state government for failing to control the violence.
On Monday, UN experts had raised concerns about alleged human rights violations and abuses, including sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, home destruction, forced displacement, torture and ill-treatment.
“We are appalled by the reports and images of gender-based violence targeting hundreds of women and girls of all ages, and predominantly of the Kuki ethnic minority,” the experts had said in a release. “The alleged violence includes gang rape, parading women naked in the street, severe beatings causing death, and burning them alive or dead.”
They said that particularly concerning was the fact that violence in the state was preceded and incited by hateful and inflammatory speech that was spread online and offline to justify the alleged atrocities against the Kukis, particularly women.
The experts added that the violence in Manipur was another “tragic milestone” in the “steadily deteriorating” situation for religious and ethnic minorities in India.
In response, India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations said that the Centre was committed to taking the required steps to maintain peace and stability in Manipur, according to PTI.
The mission said that the report by UN experts shows a “complete lack of understanding” of the situation in the state and the steps taken by the Indian government to address it.
It also said that UN experts chose to issue their release without waiting for the 60-day period for the Indian government to respond to a joint communication issued on the topic on August 29, reported PTI.
The mission said that it hopes that the UN experts would “refrain from commenting on the developments, which have no relevance to the mandate given to them by the Council and abide by the established procedure for issuing news releases and wait for inputs sought from the Government of India before doing so”.