Imphal: The photos of two missing students killed in the presence of two armed men has gone viral on social media after the internet ban in the state was lifted on September 23.
While the first picture shows them seated on a forest floor with two armed men behind, the second picture shows the bodies of the decapitated youth, and the girl. The photographs were taken on July 8, two days after the students went missing.
The Manipur chief minister’s secretariat confirmed that the pictures belonged to Phijam Hemjit, 20, and Hijam Linthoinggambi, 17, both Meiteis, from Imphal.
“It may be noted that this case has already been handed over to the CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation] as per the wishes of the people of the state,” said the statement. The chief minister’s secretariat also said that swift and decisive action will be taken against all those involved in the abduction and killing of the two students.
According to NDTV, the two were last seen in Bishnupur district, 35 km from Churachandpur. The two students were allegedly kidnapped from an area between these two districts and taken to Churachandpur.
Mobile internet services, which were suspended as ethnic violence erupted in Manipur in early May, were restored after over four months on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday appealed to the indigenous communities of the state "to continue to live as one".
He said the present turmoil in the state is unfortunate as Churachandpur, parts of Tengnoupal, Imphal East, Imphal West, Kangpokpi and Bishnupur districts continue to remain disturbed.
He said the state is trying hard to help the affected people by providing pre-fabricated homes, deploying security forces, opening national highways and lifting the ban on mobile internet.
"On March 15, 2017, the people gave the state a BJP-led government and with God's blessings and cooperation of the people, the first five years of the government passed-off peacefully without any bandhs and blockades. Unfortunately, due to Covid and some political instability, the government lost some two-and-a-half years in the previous term," he added.
More than 175 people have been killed and several hundreds injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, when a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.