What is the status of the CBI probe ? Recover the bodies
What is the status of the probe being launched into the kidnapping and later ‘murder’ of the two young students, Hijam Linthoingambi and Phijam Hemanjit ? This question should be understood and viewed in the backdrop of the massive protest launched by young students, the prompt handing over of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, the arrest of four suspects and the failure of the Government to locate the mortal remains or bodies of the two young students. Hijam Linthoi-ngambi and Phijam Hemanjit went missing on July 6 and the picture of the two, ostensibly in captivity as well as their lifeless bodies lying side by side, went viral on the social media on September 25. The protest was spontaneous with thousands of young students taking to the street and the security personnel cracking down hard on them; the Government too responded rather swiftly with the Special Director of the CBI landing at Imphal on September 27; four suspects in connection with the case picked up on October 1 and clearly the Government and its agencies appear to have responded promptly to the unfolding scenario. But it is now 10 days since the four suspects were picked up and taken to Guwahati for further investigation, but till date no one seems to know where the mortal remains of the two young students are. Or were the four persons zeroed in as suspects just to quell the initial outburst of shock and anger and bring a semblance of normalcy at Imphal and the valley districts ? Or has any progress been made in the course of the investigation and interrogation of the four suspects ? These questions are important for recovering the bodies of the two young students is central to further investigation of the case. The CBI may have their own official reason in not spelling out the stage of investigation, but this should not stop the family members of the two young students from approaching the Court of law and filing a Habeas Corpus pleading with the Court that the bodies of the two young students be produced. This could be one way of taking the case forward. Recovering the two bodies is the first step towards nailing the killers and all avenue towards this end should be explored. Good counsel is obviously needed and this can come about with the more knowledgeable persons exchanging ideas and opinions. Missing-this is established. Kept in captivity and then murdered in cold blood-the photos that went viral on the social media on September 25 underline this point. To take it forward and build a strong case of kidnapping and murder, the bodies will need to be recovered. The CBI must be working on this, but important for the people to acknowledge that the case is far from over.
As pointed out in earlier commentaries in this column, Manipur may expect more upheavals when the fate of the over 20 still missing persons come to light. Over 5 months, hundreds killed, many still missing, numerous houses destroyed and levelled to the ground, thousands living in relief centres and not a single word from the Prime Minister, save for the strong exception expressed when the nude videoshot of two girls went viral. More than clear that Imphal and New Delhi just do not have it in them to address and see how best to deal with the situation. What would be the best step forward is the question that must be plaguing the minds of everyone, but the reality is, no one seems to have any idea, much less any suggestion to move forward. The shooting and killing may have come down in the last few days, but to equate this with walking the road to normalcy would be missing the trees for the woods. The past few months should more than underline the fact that it will take just a stray incident to set the ball of violence and hatred rolling again in all its might. It should be more than clear that it will take more than Imphal to set things right and walk the road to normalcy and for this to happen, Delhi has to act. Mere words that foreign elements are involved in fomenting violence here would not be enough, for the situation calls for the country to act. As pointed out in an earlier commentary, Imphal would need to act on this and give the foreign element stand of the NIA a political push. This is one way of letting Delhi act.