Laltlanchhuaha, 37, had claimed before a court that he had acted in a fit of rage when he killed Sangliansiama, his wife, their son, Sangliansiama’s sister and their teenage relative following an argument with the head of the family over the alleged non-payment of his wages.
The accused had hacked to death the five family members in their own home on the evening of January 9, but was caught by neighbours as he tried to escape and was handed over to police, who spirited him off to jail as thousands gathered at the crime scene and a mob demanded he be handed over.
In their public statement, Laltlanchhuaha’s relatives said he “did not work in [the victims’] house or under them” and Sangliansiama’s family “did not owe any money” to them.
“We sincerely regret our son Laltlanchhuaha’s reported confession before a magistrate…that is causing much hurt for the relatives of Sangliansiama and his family, who have always loved us and have been close family friends,” the public statement issued by the accused’s relatives, signed by his father Parzuala, said.
“We beg for the forgiveness of Sangliansiama’s extended family, the neighborhood and the people of Mizoram,” the statement added.
The massacre of Sangliansiama’s family has left Mizoram in shock, and the neighborhood where the crime was committed is currently observing a week of mourning by hoisting black flags at every home.
Top politicians and church leaders across the state have expressed their sadness at the massacres, considered the worst in the state’s history, while social media remains abuzz with condolences for the deceased family.