Amid the FIFA World Cup 2022 Final victory celebrations, a 50-year-old woman from Singjamei Wangma Kongba road Bheigyabati Leikai, Imphal East died after being hit by a suspected stray bullet at her home on Sunday night.
According to sources, the victim, Laishram (O) Ibetombi, 50 wife of L Birmani from Singjamei Wangma Kongba road Bheigyabati Leikai and her family along with their neighbours were watching the FIFA World Cup final match inside their house.
“Around 11.50 pm when Argentina won with the final penalty kick, Ibethombi was up on her feet celebrating the victory. But soon after she sat down on her bed, she fell unconscious suddenly,” the sources said.
She was rushed to Advanced Hospital and then referred to JNIMS where she was declared ‘brought dead’, the sources maintained.
“When Ibetombi’s husband Birmani arrived home ahead of the other family members, his son Guddu informed him about finding several holes that look like bullet marks on their wall and asked if his mom was injured by gunshots. Then the family checked Ibetombi’s body for bullet wounds en-route the way back home and found an injury that appeared to be a bullet wound below the left shoulder on her back. They rushed her to JNIMS where the doctors raised suspicion it was a bullet wound,” the sources said.
The Porompat police arrived at the hospital and kept the body at JNIMS mortuary for post-mortem, they mentioned.
The sources also stated that the Porompat police filed a case regarding the incident. They said the police picked up one Khangembam Boby, 47, son of Kh Thoiba from Singjamei Wangma Kongba Road around 7.30 am on Monday, whose residence is located across the street from Ibetombi’s residence. The police also seized Boby’s gun the night before, they mentioned.
DIG Range 1 Themthing arrived at the site of the incident and conducted an investigation followed by the State Forensic Science Laboratory team who examined the crime scene, the sources added.
Meanwhile, the Athletic Sports Association, Singjamei Wangma Kongba Road along with the locals held a sit-in protest against the alleged killing of Laishram (O) Ibetombi. The organisation had also conducted a public meeting regarding the incident.
It may be recalled that amid the Diwali celebration in October, one stray bullet penetrated a roof and hit the bed of a residence in Imphal West, with many people reportedly firing live bullets in the air as celebratory gunfire.
The stray bullet left a hole on the mattress of the bed, making the family feel unsafe even inside their own home. The incident occurred at the residence of one Huidrom Dewan Singh, 36, son of late H Ibopishak Singh of Chingamakha Liwa Lambi, Maibam Leikai Bokul Makhong, Imphal West.
Dewan said the bullet was found under his bed. He said that there was a high possibility of him sustaining a bullet injury on his neck if he happened to be lying on the bed. “Any other person could have been hit but no one was injured thankfully,” he said.
He filed a complaint at Singjamei police station the same day.
A team of police came for spot enquiry and they reported that it was a 9mm bullet that came through his roof.
Dewan appealed to the government to monitor strictly before issuing gun licences as gun owners can harm an innocent person if they misuse their guns. He further appealed to the gun licence holders not to fire their arms unnecessarily as their negligence could result in loss of lives.
There have been many cases of bullet injury caused by celebratory gunfire at different places across the world. The possibility of fatality caused by a falling bullet is extremely high as compared to a typical firing. Certain myths like celebratory gunfire is harmless or rare have been proven to be wrong with scientific data.