IMPHAL: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), within just four days of taking over the case of the abduction and subsequent killing of two Meitei youth in Manipur, have arrested “some” primary suspects on Sunday.
Confirming the arrests, Chief Minister Biren Singh stated that all the accused have been apprehended from Churachandpur and the state government will seek capital punishment for them.
Expressing his determination to see justice is served, he took to a popular micro-blogging website and wrote, “I’m pleased to announce that some of the main culprits responsible for the abduction and murder of Phijam Hemanjit and Hijam Linthoingambi were arrested from Churachandpur today.”
Highlighting the unwavering efficacy of the law, the Chief Minister added, “As the saying goes, one may abscond after committing the crime, but they cannot escape the long hands of the law. We are committed to ensuring maximum punishment, including capital punishment, for the heinous crime they have committed.”
Earlier, a specialised CBI team led by Special Director Ajay Bhatnagar had touched down in Manipur on September 27 to investigate the case. Their arrival was set against a backdrop of intense student-led protests, which erupted in Imphal on September 26. The confrontations had resulted in over 60 injuries and sparked widespread outrage in the Imphal valley. This led the state government to form a committee to examine allegations of disproportionate force used by the police on protestors.
The catalyst for these tensions was the mysterious disappearance of the two Meitei youths, Phijam Hemjit, 20, and Hijam Linthoingambi, 17, on July 6, amid mounting sectarian strife in the state.
After an Internet ban was lifted by the government on September 23, images of the missing youths began circulating online, causing growing concerns about their fate. However, it was a particularly unsettling image, shared on September 25, that shook the community. The photograph revealed the two deceased youths, with a chilling detail: Hemjit’s head was missing.