Imphal, April 24: The Paomai community in Manipur has expressed shock at the rape of a minor girl at Paomei colony in Imphal city by a 65-year-old resident on April 17, during the Inner Manipur polling.
Paomai civil society organisations, including Paomai Naga Union, Paomei Naotumai Me, Imphal and Paomai Colony Development Board condemned the assault of the minor by S. Ngaopuni.
The Paomei community, however, was anguished over the mention of Paomai as the name of the culprit in the report of the rape.
“A culprit is a culprit. He does not have a caste, creed or religion. The mention of Paomai as the culprit has hurt the sentiments of the community,” Abraham, president of Paomai Naga Students Union, told The Telegraph.
He further said the community was upset over the report as it tarnished the image of the community. “Paomai is a name of a community and it can’t rape a girl. Rapist is a rapist, nothing more, nothing less,” Abraham said.
The culprit raped the girl after forcibly taking her to an isolated place at Koirengei, not very far from the Paomai colony. He took the girl from her house on the pretext of taking her to a nearby polling station for proxy voting.
The culprit and victim are residents of Paomai Colony, Imphal.
The incident triggered protests in Imphal and Kanglatongbi in Senapati district, from where the girl originally hails.
A joint action committee formed by Kanglatongbi residents blocked the Imphal-Dimapur highway for two days. One protester died while two others were injured when police opened fire to clear the blockade.
The action committee lifted the blockade only after chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh assured the committee that a chargesheet would be submitted as soon as possible and the culprit punished.
Ibobi Singh also assured a government job to a family member of the protester who was killed in police firing and financial assistance to the two injured.
The Paomai organisations expressed sympathy for the rape victim and support for the aggrieved family in their fight for justice.
The Telegraph report had quoted local residents during a protest in Imphal and the reporter did not intend to hurt sentiments. We regret if the report hurt the sentiments of the Paomai community.