Killings of two students trigger massive protest in Manipur, over 50 injured

Trouble broke out after the photos of 17-year-old girl Hijam Linthoingambi and 20-year-old man Phijam Hemjit surfaced on social media.
(Photo | Special Arrangement)
(Photo | Special Arrangement)

GUWAHATI: Over 50 students were injured in Manipur's capital Imphal on Tuesday during a massive protest against the killings of two missing students.

The trouble broke out after the photos of 17-year-old girl Hijam Linthoingambi and 20-year-old man Phijam Hemjit surfaced on social media. They were reported missing since the early part of July when the ethnic violence was at its peak.

In one photo, the two students are seen sitting on a grassy compound with two armed men in the background. Another photo showed their bodies with the head of Hemjit appearing to be missing.

Thousands of students on Tuesday hit the streets to condemn the killings and demand justice for the slain duo. When they attempted to march towards the residence of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, police and paramilitary personnel fired tear gas shells and smoke bombs to disperse them.

The injured students were admitted to some hospitals. The situation was tense when reports last came in.

Sensing trouble after the photos surfaced, the Chief Minister’s Secretariat had issued a statement on Monday night, appealing to the public to exercise restraint and allow the authorities handle the investigation.

The CBI director will arrive in Imphal along with a special team on Wednesday morning, CM N Biren Singh said. “Their presence underscores the commitment of our authorities to swiftly resolve this matter. I have been constantly in touch with Home Minister Amit Shah to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” he posted on X.

Security forces have started a search operation to nab the perpetrators of the crime.

State govt suspends internet services
After fresh violence on Tuesday, the government reimposed the ban on mobile internet and internet services through VPN in the state for five days with immediate effect. Mobile internet services, suspended on May 3 over of ethnic violence, were restored three days ago.

Meanwhile, the state government ordered the closure of all schools on Wednesday and Friday. Thursday is a government holiday.

More than 175 people have been killed and several hundreds injured since ethnic clashes broke out in the northeastern state 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.

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express