Kidnapping, murder. What did they do wrong, parents of Manipur youth told NDTV

After the two youths did not return home on July 6, the parents lodged a complaint with the police

Imphal/New Delhi:

The parents of a 17-year-old student killed by gunmen in ethnic violence-hit Manipur have been keeping a plate of breakfast on his desk every morning for more than two months, hoping he will return home. The devastated parents told NDTV at their home in the state capital Imphal that they will now stop serving food on his table.

The youth, along with a girl of the same age, went missing on July 6. Their bodies were lying on the ground where an armed group’s camp is located, surfaced on social media yesterday, after which the Manipur government assured immediate action in a statement.

“Has my son or daughter, anyone’s daughter, done anything wrong? Did they harm anyone? They were just traveling when they were kidnapped and later brutally murdered.” The father of the 17-year-old student, Feijam Abengobi, told NDTV. Holding a framed picture of his son.

Photos that surfaced on social media show two students sitting in a grassy compound in what appears to be a makeshift jungle camp of an armed group. The girl is in a white t-shirt while her friend, holding a bag and in a checked shirt, looks on. Two men with guns are clearly visible behind them. In the next picture, their bodies are seen lying on the ground.

Add a photo caption here.

This picture of two youths who were killed in Manipur surfaced on social media on Monday.

The 17-year-old girl had left home on the morning of July 6 to attend NEET classes for admission to pre-medical studies when the curfew was relaxed for a few hours. He was picked up by his friend on a motorbike. Assuming that the situation had improved, the two took the main road connecting Churachandpur and Bishnopur districts. The areas between these two districts witnessed intense shootings and killings in May and June.

When he did not return home, his parents filed a complaint in two police stations.

Police said CCTV footage from shops along the road showed the youth heading towards Nambul, 16 km from Imphal. Police sources said that from here it got more complicated as the phones of both the youths were switched off at places that were 18 km apart.

“Cybercrime police reported that her phone was last switched off in Kwakta and her friend’s phone was switched off in Lamdan,” the girl’s father, barber Kulajeet, told NDTV. Large portraits of his daughter are placed on a table behind him.

Kokta district is in Bishnopur, which is part of the valley, while Lamdan is in Chorachandpur, which falls in the hilly areas.

“Since she didn’t come back, I called her and she picked up. She looked scared and said she was in Nambul. I asked why she was in Nambul and asked her to tell me her location, so that ‘s father could pick her up. She mumbled Khoppam (20 km from Nambool) and her phone went off,” the girl’s mother Jayashree told NDTV on 2 August.

“I want justice. I want the killers to be caught and punished. I know how I spent all these days,” the girl’s father, barber Kalajit, told NDTV. told NDTV, and he broke down.

"I want justice.  I want the killers to be caught and punished.  I know how I got through all these days" The girl's father, Hijam Kalajit, told NDTV

“I want justice. I want the killers to be caught and punished. I know how I spent all these days,” the girl’s father, barber Kulajit, told NDTV. told NDTV.

The case has sparked widespread outrage across the country, with many questioning why it took the police so long to crack the case.

People with direct knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be named, said investigators are using advanced cyber techniques to possibly clarify the images and determine the identities of the two men in the background. Forensic tools will be used.

The government said it would take “swift and decisive action” against all those involved in the abduction and killing of the students. He appealed to the public to remain calm and let investigators do their work. The government referred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) a few weeks ago.

The killings sparked student protests in Imphal today, after which the state government shut down mobile internet till October 1.

The hills of Manipur have several camps of around 25 Kuki rebel groups that have signed a Tripartite Suspension of Operation (SOO) agreement with the Centre, the state and the army. The Kukis have accused valley-based militias of attacking them, while the Metis have accused the Kuki rebels of violating the SOO agreement by fighting openly with sophisticated weapons.

Ethnic violence between the hill-majority Kuki tribes and the Valley-majority Mayites erupted on May 3, following protests by the Kukis demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. More than 180 have been killed and thousands have been internally displaced.

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