Missing duo's final rites held, wives rue
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, December 15 2023: The last rites of Atom Samarendra of Khumbong Bazar and Yumkhaibam Kirankumar of Khumbong Mayai Leikai, who went missing during the course of the ongoing ethnic clashes that broke out on May 3, were performed by replacing their bodies with 'Pangong' tree plank at the ground of Imphal West Students' Club, Khumbong on Thursday.

A memorial site of the two was also unveiled on the sidelines of the religious rituals.

According to Club president Oinam Samarendra, Samarendra and Kirankumar went missing on May 6.Even though their bodies could not be found, the final rites were performed by replacing with 'Pangong' .

He appealed to every community to contribute towards upholding the territorial integrity of Manipur and neutralise attempt being made by Chin-Kuki narco-terrorists to distort it.

Health minister and local MLA Dr Sapam Ranjan also attended the final rites of the missing duo and shared condolences to their bereaved families and friends.

The two men had been missing since the early stages of a conflict, suspected to have fallen victim to armed Kuki militants.

Despite repeated pleas from family members and locals urging the state government to trace the whereabouts of the missing duo, there has been no response for over seven months.

The grieving families, left with no other choice, decided to perform the last rites, assuming the worst.

A funeral procession took place, with many locals lining the roadsides to pay floral tributes to the departed souls.

In a tribute to their dedicated community service, a memorial stone for the deceased duo was unveiled at the Club ground.

Expressing deep anguish on the sidelines of the last rites, Kabita Devi, wife of Atom Samarendra, disclosed that the bodies of two warring communities had been exchanged, yet nothing had been done by the state government for the missing individuals.

She questioned the government's actions, highlighting the lack of initiatives despite the ongoing turmoil.

Basanti, wife of Yumkhaibam Kirankumar, conveyed her sadness at carrying out the last rites in the absence of their bodies.

She lamented the unique and unfortunate circumstances faced by their families.

As had been already reported, Samarendra and Kirankumar's last phone calls were located near Sangaithel Olympian Park, Sheiheibung village before being switched off at 4:35 PM on the same day (May 6) .

The families reported the missing persons to the police immediately, but to date, no information has been availed.

The families submitted a copy of the missing report and FIR to the chief minister on September 6, urging him to hand over the case to the CBI and help trace their whereabouts.

Unfortunately, no information or assistance has been received.

Allegations from IWSCK claim that Samarendra and Kirankumar were abducted in broad daylight on May 6, becoming the first two persons to go missing when the clashes erupted in the state.

Atom Samarendra, 47, a former Sub Editor of The Sangai Express, general secretary of IWSCK and employee of Institute of Sustainable Bioresource Development, Takyelpat, is survived by his wife Kabita Devi and two sons.

Yumkhaibam Kirankumar Singh, 47, a member of IWSCK, is survived by his wife Basanti and three children.

Meanwhile, the body of Pechimayum Ibochouba, who was brought from Churachandpur district hospital and kept at JNIMS morgue was finally cremated at the public crematorium in Minuthong, here, on Friday.

Speaking in this regard, a family member said that they have been demanding the government several times for handing over the body.

As the demand could not be honoured, they performed the last rites of Ibochouba using 'Pangong' on September 8 at Sabungkhok Makha Leikai.

As the government brought the lifeless body of Ibochouba from Churachandpur on Thursday after his last rites had been performed.

The family members decided not to claim his body, the family member said.

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