Manipur violence: Photos showing bodies of two missing students surface online, state govt reacts
The two students have been identified as Hijam Linthoingambi, 17, and Phijam Hemjit, 20. The Manipur CMO said the case has been handed over to CBI.
The Manipur government has assured "swift and decisive" action after photos showing the bodies of two students, who had gone missing in July, surfaced on social media – after mobile Internet was restored in the violence-hit northeastern state.
In the statement, the Manipur chief minister's office said the case has already been handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The two students have been identified as Hijam Linthoingambi, 17, and Phijam Hemjit, 20.
“It has come to the notice of the State Government that the photos of two students, Phijam Hemjit (20 years) and HijamLinthoingambi(17 years), who have been missing since July, 2023 have surfaced on social media. It may be noted that this case has already been handed over to the CBI as per the wishes of the people of the state,” the statement, issued on September 25, said.
The photos, which have gone viral on social media, show the two students sitting at the grassy compound of what appears to be a makeshift jungle camp of an armed group.
The Manipur police, in collaboration with the central security agencies, are actively investigating the case to determine the circumstances surrounding their disappearance and to identify the perpetrators “who murdered the two students”, the statement said.
The security forces have also started the search operation to nab the perpetrators, it added.
“In response to this distressing situation, the government assures the public that swift and decisive action will be taken against all those involved in the kidnapping and killing of Phijam Hemjit and HijamLinthoingambi. The government is committed to ensuring justice prevails and will impose severe punishment on any perpetrators found responsible for this heinous crime. The Government encourages the public to exercise restraint and to let the authorities handle the investigation,” the statement said.
Manipur descended into chaos and untrammelled violence in May over a high court order directing the state government to consider including the non-tribal Meitei community in the list of Scheduled Tribes.
The order led to rampant ethnic clashes. More than 170 people have been killed and several hundred others injured since ethnic violence first broke out in the state on May 3 when a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community's demand for ST status.