After two photos emerged on social media showing the bodies of two students who went missing in Manipur in July, the state government assured that "swift action" will be taken and severe punishment will be imposed on perpetrators. The two students from the Meitei community - Hijam Linthoingambi, 17, and Phijam Hemjit, 20 - went missing in July and the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
In one of the photos, the students are seen sitting next to each other with armed men in the background. In another photo, the bodies of the two students are seen lying next to a rock. In a statement issued late on Monday night, the Manipur government said, "State 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."
Although the Manipur Government has employed authorities to investigate the "kidnapping and killing" of the duo. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has alleged that horrific crimes are being allowed to continue unabated in the state and said that the Centre should be ashamed of its "inaction". The two students were identified as Phijam Hemjit (20) and Hijam Linthoingambi (17). In a post on X, Priyanka Gandhi said, "More shocking news from Manipur. Children are the most vulnerable victims of ethnic violence. It is our duty to do all we can to protect them. The horrific crimes being committed in Manipur are beyond words, yet they are being allowed to continue unabated." "The central government should be ashamed of its inaction," the Congress general secretary said. "The state 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 security forces have also started the search operation to nab the perpetrators," the statement issued by CBI said.
According to a status report filed by Manipur government in the Supreme Court in August, the two friends are suspected to have been abducted by “Kuki armed miscreants.” The girl's father filed a complaint at the Imphal police station on July 19 that his daughter went missing from a coaching centre on July. Upon enquiry, police found that she left the coaching centre with the youth on a motorcycle, The Hindu reported.
“Further, the bodies of the boy and the girl victim had been buried on July 12 somewhere at Lukhrrabi Khul Ground, Joujangtek on the line of ethnic conflict,” the status report said citing information from an unnamed “source”, according to The Hindu.
This case is one of the 11 cases related to violence against women in Manipur that is being probed by the CBI. The photos that surfaced on social media days after mobile internet was restored in the violence-hit state, sparked outrage with many questioning why it took so long for the police to make progress in the case.
Back in July, a horrific video had emerged that showed two women from the Kuki-Zo community in Manipur being paraded naked and being sexually assaulted openly by a mob of men. Even then, many questioned the delay in police action, which only came two months after an FIR was lodged in the case.