Manipur found itself in mourning on Tuesday in the aftermath of a tragic incident that took place near Leithao village in Tengnoupal district where 13 Meitei individuals, mostly youths, fell victim to a ruthless massacre by suspected Kuki militants.
Despite Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s recent claims of peace and BJP Manipur’s celebration of election victories in other states, the stark reality in the state has ignited widespread anger among the people.
Many perceive the incident as emblematic of a lawless state under Biren Singh-led BJ government.
The 13 individuals are identified as Maisnam Sanajaoba son of M Kanhai of Yairipok; Konjengbam Medhabanta son of late K Binochandra of Sagolband; Oinam Loken son of O Shyamkeshor of Sagolband; Ningthoujam Tomba son of N Shyam of Kumbi; Mayengbam Roshan Meitei son of M Thoiba of Wangbal; Moirangthem Kishan Meitei son of M Kingkong of Khurai; Chongtham Lamdeinganba Chingu son of Ch Manihar of Sabungkhok; Laishram Arun son of Ibohal of Sekmaijin; Shouhaijam Krishnakanta son of Surchand of Kakching; Thingom Rokey son of Th Tomba of Torbung; Chingakham Nethei alias Roshan son of Ch Surchandra of Andro; Phanjoubam Noren alias Leibakngakpa son of Ph Dharmachandra of Andro; and Th Malemnganba, son of Malem of Irengband.
Their bodies were swiftly transported to JNIMS Morgue on Monday night, with post-mortem conducted after family identification on Tuesday.
Sources indicated that their bodies bore signs of bullet injuries to their heads and bruises suggesting captivity, torture, and execution.
Grieving families, collectively deciding on funeral arrangements, opted for burial at Andro Khanarok, Imphal East. The procession paid homage, giving a hero’s salute as candles and Meiras illuminated the route from JNIMS to Andro via Thoubal.
During the assembly, the family members and well wishers rejected the notion of merely accepting compensation and job offers from the government in principle, emphasising the need to break this pattern to prevent further tragic losses in the future.
The call for justice, resilience, and solidarity echoed through the mourning crowd as Manipur grapples with the aftermath of this devastating incident.
A grieving mother, choosing stoicism, declared, “I will not cry for my son’s death. Many youths have lost their lives; they are all my sons. Today, I will cry for our motherland, Manipur.”
Roji Thingom, grappling with her brother’s tragic fate and her mother’s battle against cancer, questioned, “What would I tell my mother if she asks about the whereabouts of my brother?” Urging vengeance for all victims, she embodied a resolute spirit.
A critic of Chief Minister N Biren challenged the proclaimed peace, stating, “People keep dying every day. Our houses have been burnt down; our children are being killed every day. It has been more than seven months that we have been living in relief camps.”
In solidarity, markets and establishments, particularly in Imphal City, were shuttered from noon.