The Congress launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over various issues including, violence against women, Manipur situation, and accused him of lying in the poll bound state of Rajasthan
Tongsing Hangsing, a 7 years old boy, and his family escaped from their village of Kangchup in the Kangpokpi district before a mob arrived.
The village, which is primarily populated by Kukis, is situated in the foothills between a valley with a Meitei majority and hills with a Kuki majority. Since May 3, there have been over 100 fatalities in racial conflict between the two communities.
The family had moved to the Assam Rifles camp just outside the village the day before because they anticipated violence from the Meiteis. They believed that being close to the military would protect them from the civil war that was raging outside.
On Sunday, Tongsing, his mother, and a family member were shot and killed in Imphal West’s Iroisemba neighbourhood. The boy was being taken to the hospital after being shot at the Assam Rifles camp where his family was staying.
Tongsing’s cousin Paolenlal Hangsing claims that the bullet hit the iron rods in the window before striking Tongsing in the head with a splinter. Paolenlal continued, “Another bullet splinter struck Tongsing’s mother Meena Hangsing’s hand.”
The Assam Rifles official claimed that the child got oxygen treatment. The official, who wanted to remain unidentified, stated that “but his condition was critical. We realised he needed to be taken to a hospital.”
The official said that he had two options: either take the child to the nearby capital Imphal, which was less than 20 km away, or send him to the hospital in the Leimakhong town of the Kangpokpi district
Leimakhong was a Kuki area, but the way to it passed through a few Meitei villages. On the other hand, Imphal was Meitei territory. It was a much shorter distance, but there would be a lot more Meitei strongholds along the way. The officer decided the second option.
The official stated, “I called up the Imphal West SP and asked him to send an ambulance immediately”.
The ambulance showed up without delay. S Ibomcha, the Imphal West police superintendent, accompanied it.
It was decided that the child would travel with his mother Meena and a neighbour named Lydia Lourembam.
Around 5pm, the ambulance left the camp for the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal. Along with the police cars, an Assam Rifles party also escorted the ambulance. The official who had accompanied the ambulance said, “We went for approximately 2 kilometres until the point our jurisdiction extends”.
He added, “we are not allowed to venture by the Meira Paibis.”
The ambulance was under the protection of only the police: the Imphal West superintendent and around 10 Manipur Police commandos spread across three vehicles. Hardly 10 km from Imphal’s Iroisemba area, a massive mob blocked the convoy.
The Assam Rifles said, “someone spread a rumour that Kuki militants were being evacuated.”
Nothing was important after that. Not that the two women who were with him were Meiteis themselves, or that the ambulance was transporting a child who was critically injured.
According to the Assam Rifles official, the mob attacked the police convoy and set fire to the ambulance, which still had Tonsing, Meena, and Lidia inside.
Paolenlal claimed that the mob called “other Meitei people from our locality” to confirm their identity. They discover Meena is married to a Kuki that way, he said. They believe Lidia is from the other side because she is camping with all the Kukis.
According to a representative of the Assam Rifles, the mob also destroyed police cars. He said, “Two of their commandos were hurt and the SP fled in a passenger car.”
Requests for comment from Ibomcha went unanswered.
According to Scroll, the only thing that could be recovered was “a couple of bones” from the Lamphel police station, where Iroisemba is located.
Only “a couple of bones” could be found, according to a police officer at the Lamphel police station, which is where Iroisemba is located.