Manipur violence: three including a 7-year-old killed as mob sets ambulance on fire 

The young boy was being taken to hospital after a bullet splinter hit his head at the Assam Rifles camp his family was staying. 
Violence in Manipur. Image used fro representational purpose. (File Photo | PTI)
Violence in Manipur. Image used fro representational purpose. (File Photo | PTI)

IMPHAL: A seven-year-old boy, his mother and a female neighbour were killed in Imphal West’s Iroisemba area on Sunday evening, while the young boy was being taken to hospital after being hit by a bullet splinter at the Assam Rifles camp where his family was staying.

The ambulance they were travelling in was waylaid by a mob and set ablaze, officials said.

Three have been identified as Tonsing Hangsing (8), his 45-year-old mother Meena Hangsing, and their neighbour Lydia Lourembam.

A senior Assam Rifles officer confirmed the incident and said security has been beefed up in and around the camp where it happened.

Sources said Tonsing, the son of a tribal man, and his Meitei mother, were staying at an Assam Rifles relief camp at Kangchup. On June 4 evening, a gunfight started in the area, and despite being in the camp, he was hit by a bullet.

A senior Assam Rifles officer immediately spoke to the police in Imphal and arranged for an ambulance. Since the mother was from the majority community, a decision was taken to take the kid to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal by road, sources said.

The ambulance was under Assam Rifles escort for a few kilometres, after which the local police took over. Around 6:30 pm, the ambulance was waylaid by civilians at Isoisemba after a  rumour was spread that “Kuki militants” were being evacuated in the ambulance. following this, the convoy was attacked and the trio was burnt down by the mobs. 

The Kangchup area has several Kuki villages and is on the Kangpokpi district's border with Imphal West, close to the Meitei village of Phayeng.

The area has been seeing heavy exchange of fire in the second wave of violence across the state since May 27.

Violent clashes broke out in the northeastern state after a Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The clashes were preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations. Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals, Nagas and Kukis constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.

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The New Indian Express