Days after mobile Internet was restored in Manipur, photos of the bodies two Meitei students who went missing near Bishnupur on July 6, surfaced on social media. The bodies of the two are yet to be found. The two friends are suspected to have been abducted by “Kuki armed miscreants,” according to a status report submitted by Manipur government in the Supreme Court in August.
Soon after the photos went viral, Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and promised immediate action by the Central security agencies, a source said. This is one of the 11 cases related to violence against women being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
In one of the photos, the two friends are seen sitting next to each other, with armed men in the background. In another photo, their bodies are seen lying near a rock.
The Manipur government issued a statement late on September 25 that 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. In response to this distressing situation, the government assures the public that swift and decisive action will be taken against all those involved in the kidnapping and killing. The government is committed to ensuing justice prevails and will impose severe punishment on any perpetrators found responsible for this heinous crime. The government encourages the public to exercise restraint and to let the authorities handle the investigation,” the statement said.
Manipur has been affected by ethnic violence between the tribal Kuki-Zo and Meitei community since May 3. At least 175 people have been killed and around 30 are said to be missing.
On July 19, the girl’s father filed a complaint at Imphal police station that his daughter went missing on July 6 from a coaching centre. A case of abduction with common intention was filed at Lamphel police station.
According to the status report filed in SC, on enquiry, police found that she left the coaching centre with the youth on a motorcycle.
CCTV footage showed that the two minors were last seen at Bishnupur. When the girl’s father called her, her number was switched off but later when her mother called, she answered the phone before abruptly disconnecting the call.
One of the teachers of the girl had confirmed to police that the girl attended the class on July 6.
Police visited areas such as Nambol, Moirang, Phougakchao Ikhai etc., but could not make headway. Call detail records showed that their last known location was Kwakta Sevla. Days later, her phone was active with a new SIM card in Churachandpur, the police found.
According to Manipur Police, the two friends were abducted by some armed Kuki miscreants near a stone quarry at Laimaton under the jurisdiction of Loktak police station in Maoirang area.
A CCTV camera footage installed at a house at Bishnupur Awang Leikai near FCI office along Old Cachhar Road, Bishnupur was checked and it was found that they passed through Old Cachhar Road at 9:12 am on July 6.
“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”.