The situation in Imphal, the capital city of Manipur, has remained tense since Tuesday night as protests against the killing of two Meitei students continued into late midnight in some localities of the town. Police reported that around 25-30 protesters sustained injuries due to police action, including the firing of tear gas shells, on Tuesday afternoon during student protests demanding justice for the deceased students. Despite the state government’s appeal for restraint, protests resumed after a brief lull in the evening, with women and residents joining the demonstrations in Singjamei and Kakwa. Protesters clashed with police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel during the demonstrations. As of Wednesday morning, the situation was reported as normal in some areas, with no changes in curfew timings due to the protests, according to Imphal East superintendent of police K Sivakanta Singh.
Protests continued in Tera Bazar and Sagolband areas until midnight, and security forces used tear gas shells and baton charges to disperse the crowds. “Security forces used minimal force to disperse the gathering and fired some tear gas shells in which some people got injured,” Manipur Police posted on X (formerly Twitter) at 9:51 pm on Tuesday. The protests by students and residents took place on Tuesday after pictures of two students, one boy and a girl, who were reported missing since July 6, had surfaced on social media on Monday. The chief minister’s secretariat on Monday evening confirmed the photos were of Phijam Hemjit (20) and Hijam Linthoinggambi (17) adding that investigation of the case has already been handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The bodies of the two deceased are yet to be traced. A police report dated August 2 outlines the ongoing investigation into the case, which began with a missing person report filed by Hemjit’s father on July 8. According to the report, the students were abducted from the vicinity of Laimanton, an area falling under the jurisdiction of Loktak police station in Bishnupur district, and subsequently murdered.
Following the appearance of several photos depicting the deceased bodies of two missing Meitei teenagers allegedly killed by suspected Kuki militants, thousands of students in Imphal staged a demonstration on September 26 to seek justice for the victims. The students took to the streets, demanding action against those responsible for the killings. In response to the protests and the prevailing law and order situation, the Manipur government suspended mobile internet services for five days, which will remain in effect until 7.45 pm on October 1, 2023. Additionally, the government announced the closure of all government, aided, and private unaided schools in the state until Friday.