Some men are willing to go to any lengths for power. This pursuit turned fatal for two brothers in Manipur, both in their 70s, who drowned during a competition to decide who would become the chief of their village.
Singlampao Khao, 75, and Gadai Khao, 74, were locked in a battle for 10 years to become chief of Gatao village in Tamenglong district. Locals said the duo had written to district authorities and the deputy CM Gaikhangam to settle the dispute.
But receiving no response from authorities, the brothers turned to a Naga tribal tradition of testing respiratory strength by trying to hold their breath the longest under water. They died trying to outdo each other.
“This was an aberration, as this tradition is not known to be fatal. Their cause of death is not clear yet,” Tamenglong district police chief Themthing Ngashangva said.
Tribal groups in Manipur are governed by customary laws and practices. Some entail contests of physical strength and abilities. State officials said they are trying to dissuade people from settling disputes this way. The villagers, however, are blaming the deaths on government apathy in settling the dispute.