Imphal: The Manipur government issued a statement on Monday, confirming the tragic news that the two missing Meitei students whose images surfaced online have been murdered, and the case has been handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for further inquiry. In the wake of the recent lifting of the internet ban in Manipur, troubling images emerged online, shedding light on the disappearance of two students who went missing in July.
The statement from the state government was released following the widespread sharing of photos of Hijam Linthoingambi (17) and Phijam Hemjit (20), both residents of Imphal, on various social media platforms. The Imphal Police have indicated their suspicion that the students may have been killed by Kuki militants.
One of the disturbing images depicts 20-year-old Phijam Hemanjit and 17-year-old Luwangthoi Linthoingambi Hijam seated in a grassy compound with two unidentified men in the background, while another image shows them lying down.
The Manipur Government’s statement reveals that the investigation into the case has been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). It also emphasizes that Manipur police, in collaboration with central security agencies, are actively probing the case to unravel the circumstances surrounding the students’ disappearance and to identify the individuals responsible for the tragic murder of the two students. Security forces have initiated search operations to apprehend the alleged perpetrators.
The government has assured the public of “swift and decisive” action while appealing for restraint and urging citizens to allow the authorities to manage the situation.
The two minors, Hemanjit, a resident of Takyel Kolom Leikai in the Imphal West district, and Linthoingambi from Tera Tongbram Leikai, went missing on July 6 after attending morning coaching classes. According to reports, they were last seen riding together after their classes ended. Over the following days, the state witnessed numerous protests, with demonstrators demanding answers regarding the students’ whereabouts.
According to a report from Scroll.in, the students’ disappearance occurred immediately after the reopening of schools and coaching centers in Manipur, which had been closed due to ethnic violence. Linthoingambi attended her classes, and CCTV footage showed her riding a KTM Duke 200 with her friend Phijam Hemanjit Singh. Initially, both families had speculated that the youngsters might have eloped, as they appeared to be romantically involved. Linthoingambi had mentioned visiting Nambol Bazar after class, but her phone went silent after her last message was sent from Khoupum, a Naga-dominated area approximately 40 km from her family’s home, according to her mother, Jayashree Devi.
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The families had clung to the hope that the police would eventually locate the two students or that they would safely return home. The boy’s family has now confirmed the identities of their children.
The ongoing conflict in Manipur has led to over 200 fatalities and the displacement of nearly 60,000 individuals.
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