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Kuki groups launch protests after CBI arrests 4 for the brutal murder of 2 Meitei students, call it ‘abduction’, demand release

The brutal murder of both the students, Phijam Hemjit (20) and Hijam Linthoingambi (17), rose to prominence only after pictures of them surfaced on social media on 25 September. They reportedly went missing on July 6 this year.

A day after Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh announced the arrest of four persons responsible for the abduction and brutal killing of two Meitei students from Imphal, the Kuki-Zomi organizations have launched protests and called the arrest an ‘abduction’.

According to the reports, the action taken by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Lamka prompted the Indigenous Tribal Leader’s Forum (ITLF) to declare an indefinite shutdown in Churachandpur beginning on Monday, October 2.

The four persons who have been arrested by the NIA and CBI and two minors who were detained in the case are all Kukis. “We have arrested four persons identified as Paominlun Haokip, S Malsawn Haokip, Lhingneichong Baite, and Tinneilhing Henthang,” one of the CBI officials was quoted as saying.

On August 23, the CBI opened two investigations at the request of the Manipur government and took over the investigation of the cases that the State police had opened previously on the basis of complaints from the parents of the minor victim. “During the investigation of these cases, four persons have been arrested,” a CBI spokesperson stated.

The brutal murder of both the students, Phijam Hemjit (20) and Hijam Linthoingambi (17), rose to prominence only after pictures of them surfaced on social media on 25 September. They reportedly went missing on July 6 this year.

As reported earlier, one of the accused, Lhingneichong Baite, was a friend of Hijam Linthoingambi, the girl student who was murdered. In a joint operation, a crack unit of the Manipur Police and the Indian Army captured the suspects from the Churachandpur district, the epicentre of the ethnic violence in Manipur. Soon after their arrests, they were moved to Imphal airport, from where they were flown to Guwahati by a CBI team.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh also confirmed on Sunday, October 1 that the arrested accused had been taken to Guwahati by a special flight. This prompted the ITLF to launch a protest against the action taken by the NIA and CBI.

“The joint meeting of various Civil Society Organisations of Lamka tonight resolved to declare an indefinite shutdown in protest against the abduction in Lamka district starting from 10 am 2nd October 2023,” a notification issued by ITLF on Sunday, October 1 said.

“NIA and CBI are requested to release the 7 abductees within 48 hours, failing which more intense agitation will follow in all hill districts of Manipur,” it demanded.

However, it is said that the authorities have released the two minors detained by the police. The two are daughters of the main accused.

In an effort to protest this detention, the ITLF announced in its shutdown announcement that starting on Monday, all boundary regions with the Meitei will be sealed. “No one will be allowed to enter or leave the buffer zones. All government offices will be closed from tomorrow,” the notification reads. 

Services including water supply, press or media, medical services, the power department, and the ITLF staff have however been spared from the shutdown.

Manipur Chief Minister commented on the issue and said that the current crisis in Manipur is not a clash between ethnic groups but it is purely a war against the Indian Union by Myanmar and Bangladesh-based Kuki militants in collaboration with militant groups operating in Manipur.

“The crisis has been made to look like an ethnic or communal clash, or religion-based, or between the majority and minority groups. however, with the voice of people, the real cause has come up. As the issue is a war against the Indian Union, the Central government would further take up necessary measures to tackle it,” he was quoted as saying.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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