Senior Cop Called Back To Manipur After Fresh Violence Hits State

Fresh violence erupted in Manipur this week over the brutal killings of two students, one of whom was a minor, who went missing in July.

Manipur violence: Mr Balwal, a 2012-batch IPS officer, is of Manipur cadre.

New Delhi:

As Manipur continues to battle a fresh round of violence, the Union Home Ministry today repatriated top Srinagar police official Rakesh Balwal to the northeastern state. 

Fresh violence erupted in Manipur this week over the brutal killings of two students, one of whom was a minor, who went missing in July.

Mr Balwal, a 2012-batch IPS officer, is of Manipur cadre posted in Jammu and Kashmir. He took over as Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in Srinagar in late 2021. Mr Balwal had previously served on deputation to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as Superintendent of Police (SP) for three and a half years, where he was part of the team that investigated the 2019 Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

Centre has ordered Mr Balwal's premature repatriation to send him to the northeastern state that has been gripped with violence since May this year.

Violent protests in Manipur over the death of the two students continued into the early hours of today, with a mob vandalising the deputy commissioner's office in Imphal West and torching two four-wheelers. Protesters and security forces clashed in Uripok, Yaiskul, Sagolband, and Tera last night, forcing security personnel to fire multiple rounds of tear gas shells to disperse the crowd.

Brutal Killings Of Students

On Tuesday, photos emerged on social media showing the bodies of two students who went missing in July. The two students, Phijam Hemjit (20) and Hijam Linthoingambi (17), were photographed sitting at a makeshift jungle camp belonging to an armed group.

READ | CBI In Manipur To Probe Murder Of 2 Teens: Chief Minister N Biren Singh

In the photo, the girl is dressed in a white t-shirt while the boy is carrying a backpack and wearing a checkered shirt. Two men armed with guns are also clearly visible behind them. The next photo shows their bodies slumped on the ground.

Two students were last seen in Bishnupur district, 35 kilometers from Churachandpur - the district where the first instance of violence in Manipur erupted in May. Armed men allegedly kidnapped them from the area between the two districts and took them to Churachandpur.

Aftermath

Massive protests were held in Manipur after pictures of the two students went viral on social media. In state capital Imphal, hundreds of students marched towards Chief Minister N Biren Singh's residence, forcing the state police to use riot gear and tear gas to pacify the agitation.

Several students were injured in clashes with police personnel and were rushed to hospitals for medical treatment.

READ | Amit Shah Assured Me Killers Of 2 Manipuri Youths Will Be Punished: Biren Singh

The protests forced the Manipur government to re-impose the internet ban in the state. The ban will be in effect till Sunday. 

In a late-night tweet on Tuesday, Chief Minister N Biren Singh assured people that his government is working with Centre to bring the culprits behind the killings to justice. 

"The central and state governments are very serious about this case. Union Home Minister Amit Shah-ji called me up yesterday evening and told me that he is sending a CBI team on a special flight to investigate the particular case," Mr Singh said. 

A CBI team, led by Special Director Ajay Bhatnagar, arrived in Imphal on Wednesday afternoon to investigate the murders. 

Over 180 people have been killed and thousands have been displaced in the ongoing ethnic violence between the Kuki and Meitei communities in India. The violence erupted on May 3 over the Meiteis' demand for Scheduled Tribes (ST) status.

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