CBI gets 5-day custody of accused held in killing of Manipur youth
October 02, 2023  22:06
A special court in Guwahati has granted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) five-day custody of the four accused arrested in connection with a probe into the cases of two missing Manipuri students believed to have been killed, officials said Monday.

Phijam Hemanjit (20) and Hijam Linthoingambi, a girl aged 17 years, had gone missing on July 6. Photos purportedly showing their bodies surfaced on September 25, leading to violent protests, mainly by students.

The CBI on Sunday had arrested two men, Paominlun Haokip and Smalsawm Haokip, and two women, Lhingneichong Baitekuki and Tinneilhing Henthang, in connection with the cases registered by it on August 23.

The accused were produced before a special court in Guwahati which said 'prima facie' enough material exists to send them to CBI custody for five days, they said.

The accused will be produced before the court again on October 7.

The court also ordered the district child welfare officer of Kamrup district to ensure proper care of two minor daughters of an accused who were brought along with them to Guwahati for safety reasons.

CBI sources said the agency had deployed enough women officers during the arrest of the accused and all legal formalities were completed.

Based on the complaints of the victims' parents, the two cases related to the missing students were earlier registered with the Imphal Police and Lamphel Police on July 8 and July 19, respectively.

A team of CBI officials, led by the agency's Special Director Ajay Bhatnagar, reached Manipur on September 27 to monitor and help the probe after the photographs purportedly showing the bodies went viral on September 25.

Violent protests by students rocked the Manpir capital during the next two days. A mob tried to attack the ancestral house of Chief Minister N Biren Singh on the night of September 28, but security forces foiled the attempt. 

Another mob vandalised the deputy commissioner's office in Imphal West district.

More than 180 people lost their lives and several hundreds were injured since the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3, after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the 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. Tribals -- Nagas and Kukis -- constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts.   -- PTI
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