New Delhi: At least 83 people, many of them students, were injured over two days of protest in Imphal sparked by the viral photos which showed the dead bodies of two youngsters who had been missing from early July.
On Tuesday, hundreds of students took to the streets to demand justice for Luwangbi Linthoingambi Hijam (17) and Phijam Hemanjit Singh (20). The police used force to control the protest, leaving many injured.
The Manipur government on Tuesday announced the closure of schools in the state until September 29 and a five-day internet shutdown, until October 1.
On Wednesday, thousands of students once again gathered to protest against the deaths and force was once again used, leaving at least 22 students injured.
Violence, which has continued in the state since early May, escalated on Tuesday onwards. The people of Manipur expressed their disappointment with the government led by N. Biren Singh. Protesters set fire to the BJP Office in Thoubal district.
Protesters set the BJP office on fire in Manipur. pic.twitter.com/BxYDE1lRcR
— Meer Faisal (@meerfaisal01) September 27, 2023
BJP president A Sharda Devi’s came under attack from a mob, which was repelled by the security forces, according to Manipur police.
An unruly crowd tried to attack the house of a political leader, the joint security forces repelled the crowd by firing tear gas shells. The unruly crowd targeted a police gypsy and burnt it, while assaulting a policeman and snatched his weapon. Manipur Police condemns such…
— Manipur Police (@manipur_police) September 27, 2023
Biren Singh on Wednesday condemned the “kidnapping and killing” of the two students, saying “maximum punishment” would be given to the culprits. A CBI team headed by a special director had arrived in Imphal to probe the case, he said.
A woman who is part of the Meira Paibi group told The Wire that the Manipur government has “totally failed” to control the situation since day 1. “People, especially students’ groups, are agenered by the killings of the two students. They are protesting against the killing of their fellow students, so why should the forces lathi charge them or use tear gas?” said Chanthoi.
In a press statement, the Manipur police said that some “miscreants” who participated in the protests “used iron pieces and stones (marbles)” against security forces, because of which minimum force was used to disperse the congregation and fired some tear gas shells, which resulted in injuries to some people. “Police detained 1,697 persons in connection with violations in different districts of the state,” the statement said.
More than 180 people have been killed and several hundred injured in the ethnic clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur, which began on May 3 and is still ongoing.