Just a day prior to this murder, 16-year-old Sinam Sonia, studying in class XI at Vision Creative Science, Thoubal Okram, was reportedly found hanging from ceiling. Sonia became the third child ‘murder’ victim in the state in last 50 days.
Cruelty against children has become a routine affair in Manipur for more than a decade now. It was only on 14th August this year that a five-year-old girl Maibam Miranda was found brutally killed at Wabagai Tentha Thambal hillock (7 kms north from Kakching police station) of Thoubal district in Manipur.
The girl had been missing since 12th August last. Her dead body was found without any clothing and hanged to a tree at a seed farm located atop of Thambal Hillock. Her eyes were gouged out and several scars were witnessed on her forehead. The body had signs of mutilation. After a few days, before the police could book any suspect, the angry mob lynched a man and his wife for their alleged involvement in the murder.
11-year-old Laishram Sumitra Devi of Top Makha Leikai in Imphal east district of the state was found hanging inside kitchen of her house on September 13 under suspicious circumstances. Laishram Biren, her shopkeeper father said: Since sale was good on account of the Panchayat elections on that day, I was at the shop at Top Iril Mapan, just 150 metres away from his house. At about 1.30 pm on that day, I went back home to take a bath leaving my wife Bijaya and 8-year-old son Dhananjoy to look after the shop.”
He found his daughter Sumitra playing in the courtyard while a feast was being served at the house of his younger brother Rajen, next door. “After bathing I took my meal, and asked Sumitra to look after the house as there was no one at home. After reaching at the shop, I gave some eatables to son and asked him to go home and share with sister as well. After few moments, I heard some commotion in the direction of my house,” Biren recalled, adding, “When I rushed back home, I saw my brother along with some others cradling the body of Sumitra, who said that they found her hanging in the kitchen with a cloth.”
He wanted to inform the police and get a post mortem conducted, but his brother Rajen discouraged it. Two suspects, Laishram Rajen and his wife Laishram Dhani have been arrested. The Joint Action Committee formed in connection with the death of Sumitra has announced launching of a series of agitations for failure of awarding befitting punishment to the culprits.
Children in Manipur are not secure at their homes, in schools, in the streets and localities. Way back in 2003, a Class III student, Lungnila Elizabeth was kidnapped from outside her school and her decomposed body was discovered a few days later. Hriini Hubert and Muheni Martin went missing for days before their skeletal remains were found days later on a hillock at Senapati district headquarters, a few years later.
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