Imphal/IBNS: More stories of unimaginable horror are emerging from Manipur which is reeling under uncontrolled ethnic violence for over two months now. Days after visuals of two women being paraded naked came to light, another blood-curdling incident emerged where an old woman was locked and burned alive by miscreants.
The incident occurred during the early hours of May 28 in Serou village, amidst a period of intense violence and exchange of gunfire, NDTV reported.
An armed group locked the 80-year-old wife of a freedom fighter inside her house and set it on fire.
A case has been filed with the Serou police station regarding this horrifying incident.
The victim’s late husband S Churachand Singh was a freedom fighter and was honoured by former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
Before the outbreak of violence between two ethnic groups of Manipur—the Kukis and the Meiteis—on May 3, Serou was a serene village, nearly 45 km from the state capital Imphal.
The violence between valley-majority Meiteis and the hill-majority Kuki tribe was sparked by the Meiteis’ demand for Scheduled Tribes (ST) status.
The picturesque Serou village has been left in ruins in the aftermath of the violence.
Burned houses and bullet holes on the walls are now all that remain in what was once a peaceful and tranquil place, as witnessed by NDTV.
Serou stands out as one of the worst-hit villages during these clashes.
Eighty-year-old Ibetombi was locked by the armed miscreants inside the house in her village. The assailants then set the house on fire, trapping Ibetombi inside.
By the time her family could reach her to rescue her, the fire had engulfed the entire structure.
Ibetombi’s grandson, Premkanta, aged 22, recounted the harrowing experience to NDTV, sharing that he narrowly escaped death.
He had attempted to save his grandmother but was grazed by bullets on his arm and thigh during the rescue attempt.
The incident has left the family devastated and shocked by the violence that struck their village.
As the attackers fired indiscriminately, it was difficult for Ibetombi to run fast due to her age.
Premkanta told NDTV that his grandmother asked her family to escape first and come for her later.
Two months later, the family is back in the village only to find a heap of burnt wood and metal which they once called their home.
From the debris, the family was able to recover among other things, Ibetombi’s husband—freedom fighter S Churachand Singh being honoured by APJ Abdul Kalam.
According to NDTV, Ibetombi’s skull was recovered from the charred remains of her house. Even now, burnt bones can be seen scattered amidst the rubble, especially around the area where her bed once stood, a haunting reminder of the tragic incident.
A short distance away from the village, Serou market now appears desolate, resembling a ghost town.
The once bustling place, where people conducted their business and lived their lives, is now deserted.
Everyone has fled the area, leaving behind a profound silence that echoes the devastating impact of the violence that occurred.