A picnic party in Manipur’s Ukhrul district ended in bloodbath killing one person and seriously injuring at least 30 others. The unofficial casualty figure was three.
Phangrei Peak, 30km east of district headquarters Ukhrul, is a popular picnic spot. The tip of the peak is said to be the ‘zero point’ between two villages – Lunghar and Sihai. But the people of Lunghar claim it belongs to them.
Trouble began when the villagers of Sihai trekked en masse to the peak for a weekend picnic Saturday morning. Some 100 residents of Lunghar village, armed with sticks, machetes and other sharp weapons, clambered after them and asked if they had obtained permission for the picnic.
The Sihai villagers pointed out they did not require permission since the peak was ‘neutral’ territory. Things soon got physical, and the unarmed picnickers were at the receiving end.
One K Lyton, 27, died on the spot while scores including women and children were injured. Doctors at the Ukhrul Civil Hospital said some of the injured were brought in a critical condition.
“We have started an investigation. The culprits will be brought to book, though we have to contend with customary laws first,” a senior police officer said from Ukhrul. He added the death toll in the picnic bloodshed could rise.