Manipur on edge after video of man’s chopped head surfaces | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Manipur on edge after video of man’s chopped head surfaces amid outcry over sexual assault case

Jul 22, 2023 05:29 AM IST

A new video showing a head on a spike emerged from Manipur on Friday, offering new evidence of the barbaric nature of the ethnic clashes in Manipur.

A new video showing a head on a spike emerged from Manipur on Friday, offering new evidence of the barbaric nature of the ethnic clashes in Manipur after footage appeared of women being paraded naked before they were allegedly gangraped by a mob.

A protester holds a placard during a protest against the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur state, in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)
A protester holds a placard during a protest against the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur state, in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI)

Also Read | Manipur video: Houses of two who were part of mob set afire

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In both cases, the victims were from the Kuki community, and while the attacks on the women took place on May 4, a day after the clashes first began, the beheading of the man is believed to have taken place on July 2.

Police officials did not comment on the video showing the separated head or the status of the investigation. Members of tribal organisations identified the deceased as David Theik, a resident of Lamza village in Churachandpur.

Mary, a member of the ITLF (Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum), who has been coordinating with the family members of Theik, said the victim was supposed to go to Mumbai for a job but was stuck after ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3.

Also Read | Manipur video: Police approach women victims of mob assault as anger grows

“He was the only bread earner of the family. Until the pandemic, he was working as a waiter at a hotel in Mumbai. He returned to Manipur sometime in 2020. It is unclear if he had lost his job there. His family told us he was planning to go back to Mumbai but was caught in the violence. His father has physical disabilities. His mother died when he was young. He and his younger brother had to drop out of school,” Mary said.

Officials aware of the matter said that Theik was volunteering to keep guard when he was attacked by an armed group at around 5am on July 2. People in Theik’s village were taking turns on the watch since it shares boundaries with villages that have a mix of tribal and non-tribal populations.

“Their village had been attacked by armed miscreants the previous day. Some of the villagers, including Theik were guarding the village when the first group of miscreants launched the attack,” said an official.

Mary said that their interaction with family members revealed that Theik was first shot, then his body severed, one of his eyes gouged out. The chopped head was then placed atop a bamboo atop a fence.

“We were told by villagers that Theik had rescued a woman and her two children and sent them to a safer place outside the village when the miscreants first launched the attack. Theik was waiting for his friend who had gone out to get a scooter. The two were supposed to flee the village on a scooter but were caught by the mob,” she added.

The members of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), said that militants had launched a “brutal attack on the tribal villages of Langza and Chinglangmei during which thy beheaded “Theik and also burnt all houses in the village”.

ITLF members accused a legislator’s personal security officers of beheading Theik’s head. HT could not independently verify the allegation.

BuonKhawlein, Theik’s uncle, who filed the FIR, said the family is yet to hear from the police.

“His body was chopped into pieces and burnt. Some Manipur police commandos were also involved in the incident. Police are yet to make any arrests. They gave me the (copy of) FIR but did not share any details.” HT has seen the FIR in which Manipur police commandos have been named by the man as accused in the case.

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