7-year-old boy, his mother and neighbour killed as mob sets ambulance on fire

Imphal, June 08, 2023 (PPI-OT): A seven-year-old boy, his mother and a female neighbour were charred to death alive by a mob in the Indian restive state of Manipur. The boy was being taken to hospital after being hit by a bullet splinter at the Assam Rifles camp where his family was staying in Iroisemba area of Imphal West. The mob set the ambulance carrying the child and his caretakers on fire, and all three of them burnt to death.

“All we could recover were some bones from inside the vehicle,” Indian media quoted a senior police officer as saying. An FIR including sections related to murder was filed. As per the media reports, seven-year-old Tongsing Hangsing and his family had moved into the Assam Rifles camp just a day before that. During the exchange of fire between Kuki and Meitei villages that are on either side of the camp a bullet splinter hit Tongsing on the head, and another hit his mother’s hand.

While oxygen was administered to the child at the camp, he was critical and needed to be taken to hospital. Tongsing is the son of a Kuki father and Meitei mother. Given that the nearest hospital in Imphal was in a Meitei area, the decision was made that the child should be accompanied by his mother, Meena Hangsing, and another Meitei neighbour, Lydia Lourembam. The ambulance was stopped and burnt down by the mob with the child, his mother and neighbour still inside.

“When we reached Iroisemba, we were stopped by a mob and totally surrounded. The driver and I were pulled out of the vehicle and taken to a club nearby. The police were outnumbered. They did not fire to disperse the crowd. It was around 6.30 pm. We were kept at a club for about two hours,” a male nurse in the convoy told the media.

Violence continues in the state after ethnic tensions first escalated on May 3. Firing between alleged ‘insurgents’ and security forces led to the death of a Border Security Force man on the night between June 5 and 6. Two soldiers of the Assam Rifles were also injured. Following that, additional Indian troops have been deployed in the state.

It is worth mentioning here that the Meiteis settled in the Imphal Valley region in Manipur, are Hindus while majority of the Kuki people, living mainly in hilly areas of the state, are Christians. Tribal Kukis are being killed by Indian Army, Meiteis and BJP government in the state.

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