Two missing students murdered in cold blood
Students stage massive protest, over 50 hurt in brutal police crackdown
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 26 2023: 82 days after two teenage students went missing, photographs showing their lifeless bodies have now emerged on social media triggering massive protests with thousands of fellow students taking to the streets in Imphal today.

The two teenagers--Phijam Hemanjit, 20 and Linthoingambi Hijam, only 17, were last seen on July 6 .

Photographs of the two teenagers alive in captivity of armed Kuki men and their bodies lying in a grassy ground surfaced yesterday, only a few days after internet service was restored in Manipur.

One of the photographs show the two hapless teenagers sitting in a grassy compound with two armed men standing behind them in a distance.

Two missing students murdered in cold blood
Two missing students murdered in cold blood

Linthoingambi Hijam and Hemanjit Phijam went missing on July 6 amid the heightened tension between the Meiteis and the Kukis in Manipur.

They were last seen in Bishnupur district bordering Churachandpur.

They were suspected to have been kidnapped and killed by armed Kukis.

While the photographs have surfaced, their bodies have not been traced and recovered yet.

The State Government, yesterday said that swift and decisive actions will be taken against all involved in the killing, and that the investigation of the case has already been handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) .

Hijam Linthoingambi alias Luwangbi was daughter of Hijam Kullajit and Hijam ongbi Jayalakshmi of Sagolband Tera Tongbram Leikai.

She has an elder brother and a younger sister.

Linthoingambi had recently cleared Class XII examinations from Tamphasana Girls' Higher Secondary School, Imphal.

Hemanjit Phijam was the youngest of three sons of Phijam Ibungobi and Phijam ongbi Memcha of Takyel Kolom Leikai.

After the two went missing, the parents launched a search and they came across CCTV footage that showed the teens riding a two-wheeler at Keishampat area and further traced their "last visual" at Bishnupur's Nambol.

The teens' mobile phones were last traced at Kwakta after which the devices were switched off and SIM cards changed.

Six days later on July 12, Linthoingambi's mother, Jayalakshmi received a call from an unknown number, which she missed.

When she called back the number, the person on the other end cut the line saying it was Assam and he had earlier dialled a wrong number.

Later, it was known that the unknown person had called Linthoingambi's mother, Jayalakshmi from Lamdan in Churachandpur district using Hemanjit's handset after changing the SIM card.

Several sources citing police reports claimed that Hemanjit's handset was suspected to be in use by a person identified as Lhingmichong, Care of Janglen of Ingourok Lamdan, Churachandpur district at the time.

Meanwhile, Federation of Civil Society Organisations (FOCS) Manipur, Poirei Leimarol Meira Paibi Manipur, Delhi Association of Manipur Muslim Students New Delhi and many others civil bodies and student organisations have condemned the "brutal killing of Hemanjit and Linthoingambi by Kuki militants" .

All Manipur Muslim Girl Students' Union too condemned the "killings" in the strongest terms.

They shared the grief and pain of the bereaved families and urged the Government to take urgent steps to arrest all culprits involved in the murder of the two teenagers.

FOCS has urged that the case be transferred to the NIA from the CBI.

On the other hand, police crackdown on students protesting "brutal killing of two teenagers" hurt as many as 50 persons, mostly students and a teacher.

The massive protests in different parts of Imphal were triggered by photographs that surfaced on social media yesterday, showing the bodies of two missing teenagers-Phijam Hemanjit and Linthoingambi Hijam.

Phijam Hemanjit and Linthoingambi Hijam went missing on July 6 .

While the photographs caused rage among netizens, students of different Government schools and colleges in Imphal took the protest to the streets demanding arrest of all Kuki miscreants/militants involved in the brutal murder of the two teens.

Students of CC Higher Secondary School, Ibotonsana School, Johnstone Higher Secondary School, Ananda Singh Academy, TG Higher Secondary School, GP Women's College and Imphal College thronged the streets and demanded justice for the two deceased fellow students.

The students raised slogans such as "We want justice", "Bring peace", "We strongly condemn the brutal killing of two students Hijam Linthoingambi and Phijam Hemanjit" and "Arrest the culprits, Kuki militants" .

The enraged students marched toward the Chief Minister's Bungalow with their demands from their respective schools/colleges.

Students of CC Higher Secondary School tried to break a security barricade at Sanjenthong and march toward the Chief Minister Bungalow.

However, a large number of police personnel deployed in the area dispersed them by firing tear gas shells and mock bombs in front of Sanjenthong Guest House a few meters away from the Chief Minister's Bungalow.

Later, the police personnel forced the students to return back to the school campus.

Police also fired mock bombs and tear gas shells at the students of Ibotonsana Higher Secondary School and Johnstone Higher Secondary School near the Treasury office located a few metres from Raj Bhavan.

Students of TG Higher Secondary School and GP Women's College blocked the road leading to Keishampat from Raj Bhavan and the road leading to 1st Manipur Rifles Complex by holding banners and placards.

Police fired mock bombs and tear gas shells at the students.

Even as police were firing tear gas shells and mock bombs, the students continued to protest and raised slogans to bring justice for the two "murdered" teens.

Students of Imphal College marched towards Chief Minister's Bungalow and a commotion ensued with the police at Hodam Leirak area.

Police fired some rounds of tear gas shells and mock bombs to disperse the students.

At around 3.30 pm, a major standoff took place between students of Manipur University and security personnel at Singjamei Parking and surrounding areas.

On their way to CM's Bungalow, students of Manipur University were first blocked by police at Kakwa Bazar, but later they were allowed to go upto Singjamei Waikhom Leikai and Singjamei Parking area.

At Singjamei Parking area, the students tried to break a police barricade and proceed, but police fired several rounds of tear gas shells and mock bombs to disperse them.

The students later sat on the road and raised slogans demanding arrests of all armed Kuki men and militants involved in the murder of the two teen students.

The protests grew when Meira Paibis and people from different directions joined in.

RAF and police personnel fired several rounds of tear gas shells and mock bombs.

Firing of slingshots and pelting of stones by protesters and firing of tear gas shells, mock bombs and rubber bullets by the security forces continued till late evening .

Students of New Era Higher Secondary School also took out a protest at Thoubal by blocking one side of the National Highway-102 .

During the police action, as many as 50 persons, mostly students and a teacher sustained injuries.

They were rushed to different hospitals in Imphal.

Students who took part in the protests today, said they condemn police's excessive use of force against students who have every right to protest the "brutal murder of fellow students". Many students have been hurt seriously, they said.

Meanwhile, against an order of the Government that has declared holiday on Wednesday and Friday, students of TG Higher Secondary School have taken a resolution to attend school without fail and wear black badges as a mark of protest.

The students of the school have also urged students of other schools to join the protest.

Protests continued in several places till late in the night with youths burning tyres on the roads in Imphal.

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