Better trace the bodies fast Over 20 still missing
Suddenly Human Rights Alert Director Babloo Loitongbam and former police officer Thounaojam Brinda are in the limelight and in the process the uproar over the dastardly kidnapping and later murder of the two young students, Hijam Linthoingambi and Phijam Hemanjit, seems to have been pushed to the backfoot. The spontaneous response from the students community, the brutal crackdown by the security personnel and the plight of the injured students admitted to different hospitals with varying degrees of injuries seems to have been relegated to the ‘pages of history.’ A case of jumping from one issue to the other or a case of a natural fall out of what has been happening in Manipur for over 5 months now ? Either way it does not speak well of the reality here and ideally the number one issue over which the different civil society organisations should have come together is the need to recover the mortal remains of the two young students. Apart from the ultimatum served by some organisations after Manipur came face to face with the absolute likelihood that the two young students have been done to death, Imphal seems to have lost track of this question. What is the status quo ? At least four people, including two women, have been picked up by the CBI, and the natural question is what progress has been made in the investigation of the case ? No one is asking for the details of the investigation, for some points should not be made public to take the case to its logical conclusion, but what steps has the State Government taken up to find the mortal remains of the two students ? These are questions which the different civil society organisations, which are at the forefront of taking up issues concerning the people of Manipur, should be raising now. However far from coming anywhere near the stage of raising such questions which should have a direct bearing on the death of the two young students, other issues have emerged pushing these questions aside. This is what is disturbing to note. The task before the people and the different civil society groups should be clear and it should not be clouded by internal wranglings, ‘internal’ as understood in the context of the ongoing clash between the Kukis on one side and Manipur on the other. More than clear that the people who stand by the idea of Manipur are under heavy pressure from all sides, and this is when the true character of a people should emerge.
Recover the bodies. Hand them over to the families so that at least the last rites, however much symbolic it may just be, and the focus of the Government should be on this. At least four suspects are in custody and surely some leads can be obtained from them. Else the possibility of the case running into a dead end cannot be written off that easily. Nobody would want that and this is where the determination of the Government becomes important. Let the different civil society organisations also come together as one and exert the needed pressure so that the mortal remains can be recovered. This is the least that Manipur can do for the departed souls of the two young students. Manipur should also not lose sight of the reality facing everybody in the face. Over 20 people are still missing and how will the people respond to the situation when the remaining reports of the missing persons come to the public domain ? What are the steps that the Government has put into motion to trace the whereabouts of the missing persons ? Or will the people have to wait for someone to upload the fate of the missing persons on the social media ? The Government should note this and it says something significant that the story of the two young students came to the public domain via the social media and not due to the efforts of the Government to trace them. To The Sangai Express the case of the missing persons is of utmost importance for featuring on the list is a former employee of this newspaper. For now establish the fact and find the bodies.