Hundreds of mothers belonging to eight Naga tribes gathered in Kohima to pray for an end to violence against women and the unrest in the neighboring state of Manipur on Saturday, August 12, 2023.
Dressed in their traditional attire, mothers from across Nagaland took part in the protest at the Police Headquarters (PHQ) junction.
Women leaders also expressed resentment against a viral video that showed two women who were paraded naked.
They carried signs with the messages "We condemn parading of women and gang rape", "Stand up for women's rights", "Stop the violence, start the healing", "rape is a punishable crime", and "No mercy, hang the rapists".
"To the two women who suffered at the brutal hands of the unthinking savage criminals and the others who have suffered and continue to suffer in silence with abuse and violence, we remember you. We are ashamed that we were helpless when such heinous crimes were carried out. We are sorry that society has failed you," a female representative said.
The prayer rally was organized by eight apex tribal women’s organizations from Nagaland, including the Angami, Chakhesang, Lotha, Pochury, Rengma, Sumi, Ao, and Zeliang Naga tribes.
Atoli Sema, president of the Central Naga Women Association (CNWA), spoke out strongly against the perpetrators of violence against women.
Atoli Sema said, "To stop the rape culture, normal candlelight, a rally, or mere punishment will not help. I want to call upon the country's rulers that there should be a strict rule to punish rapists."
She added, "They should be treated the way they are treating women. Unless a new rule comes up, there cannot be changes in the country to check the rape menace."
A representative from the Rengma Mothers Association while addressing the gathering, said, "This is not the Manipur we know and love. We believe that peace is possible in Manipur and that peace is desirable and necessary. Mothers from Nagaland appeal to the people in Manipur to stop the madness. We appeal to them to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue".
In July, Indian Christian women protested and condemned the viral video showing two Christian women from the ethnic Kuki-Zo tribe who were made to walk naked and molested in Manipur state.
Since the outbreak of violence in Manipur in May, several groups from all over the world have expressed their solidarity with the affected communities through peaceful protests and rallies.
Ethnic riots between the hill-dwelling Kukis and Imphal Valley's majority Meiteis have killed around 150 people while displacing thousands who are now living in relief camps. - RVA Zo News Service
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