In a horrifying turn of events, an ambulance transporting a Meitei woman, her young son, and a relative was engulfed in flames on Sunday in Imphal, leading to fears that all three individuals have perished. Relatives and villagers, deeply distressed by the incident, shared this tragic news with an Indian Newspaper
Ambulance Torched in Violent Imphal Mob Attack
The ill-fated ambulance, accompanied by police personnel, was en route to the hospital to provide urgent medical care to the child. Regrettably, this shocking incident unfolded in Imphal West’s Iroisemba area, falling under the jurisdiction of the Lamphel police station. A senior officer from the station lamented the grim outcome, disclosing that the vehicle had been reduced to ashes at approximately 7 pm on Sunday. He expressed the heart-wrenching reality, saying, “All we could recover were some bones from inside the vehicle.” As a consequence, the police swiftly filed an FIR, encompassing charges related to murder, that very night.
Image Source – Indian Express
The incident, occurring over a month after the initial clashes between Meiteis and Kukis on May 3, has further intensified the prevailing tension in the state. Ever since those clashes erupted, the region has remained on high alert, plagued by apprehension and unease.
According to accounts provided by residents of Kangchup Chingkhok village in Kangpokpi district, the three individuals involved in this tragic incident are Meena Hangsing, her young son Tomshing, believed to be below the age of seven, and Meena’s relative Lydia Lourembam. The Kangchup area, situated on the border between Kangpokpi district and Imphal West, is home to numerous Kuki villages and is near the Meitei village of Phayeng. Unfortunately, this region has become a focal point of intense hostilities during the second wave of violence that has gripped the state since May 27.
Gin Hangsing, a relative of the victims and a resident of Kangchup Chingkhok village, revealed that the ill-fated journey commenced when they decided to transport Tomshing to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences. The young boy had suffered a severe head injury from a stray bullet or targeted gunfire in the area on Sunday.
Gin Hangsing explained the circumstances leading to this decision, stating, “The women and children of our village had been seeking refuge at an Assam Rifles outpost nearby for the past month, while the men undertook the task of defending the village. When Tomshing sustained a gunshot wound to the head, panic set in among the family members, compelling them to transfer him to RIMS in Imphal West.”
Amidst these troubling circumstances, an Assam Rifles spokesperson categorically denied the involvement of the Assam Rifles in the evacuation effort. Instead, the spokesperson affirmed that the two women and the child had been escorted by personnel from the Manipur police force.
Adding further details, a male nurse who accompanied the three victims in the ill-fated ambulance recounted his harrowing experience. He disclosed, “I received a call from our company’s proprietor, instructing me to pick up a patient from the Assam Rifles post at Kangchup. Without delay, I rushed there with a driver to facilitate the patient’s evacuation. We were informed that they were Meiteis. As soon as we arrived, we loaded two women and a young boy, who had sustained a critical head injury, into the ambulance. While en route to the hospital, we received an escort from the district police.”
The nurse further revealed that they had encountered multiple checkpoints before reaching Iroisemba. However, their journey was abruptly halted when a mob intercepted them upon their arrival at Iroisemba. Overwhelmed and surrounded, both the driver and the nurse were forcibly removed from the vehicle and taken to a nearby club. The nurse lamented the inadequate response from the outnumbered police, expressing, “The police refrained from using force to disperse the crowd, as they were outnumbered. The incident transpired around 6:30 pm, and we were held captive at the club for approximately two hours.”
The ghastly incident has sent shockwaves through the community, leaving family members and villagers distraught and anguished over the probable loss of lives.