In Manipur, 17-year-old Hijam Linthoingambi and 20-year-old student Fijam Hemjit were killed.

Imphal/New Delhi:

The Manipur government today said it will ensure "prompt and decisive" action after pictures showing the bodies of two students, who went missing in July, surfaced on social media. In the photographs, two students from the Maitei community, Hijam Linthoingambi, 17, and Fijam Hemjit, 20, are seen sitting in a grassy compound in a makeshift camp in the forest of an armed group.

In the picture, student Linthoingambi is in a white T-shirt, while Hemjeet is in a check shirt and holding a backpack. Two gunmen are clearly seen behind them.

In the next photo, the bodies of the two students are seen lying on the ground.

The case has triggered massive outrage across the country. Many have questioned why the police took so long to solve the case. In July, the two students were seen in CCTV cameras installed at the shops, but they could not be traced.

Investigators are exploring the possibility of using advanced cyber forensic tools to make the photos clear and determine the identities of the two men who appeared behind, people familiar with the matter said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"It has come to the notice of the state government that photographs of two students... Those who have been missing since July 2023 have surfaced on social media. Significantly, the case has already been handed over to the CBI as per the wishes of the people of the state."

"The state police, in collaboration with central security agencies, is actively investigating the case to ascertain the circumstances surrounding their disappearance and to identify the culprits who killed the two students. Security forces have also launched a search operation to nab the culprits," he said.

The government said it would take "swift and decisive action" against all those involved in the abduction and murder of Hemjeet and Linthoingambi. He appealed to the public to maintain calm and allow investigators to do their job.

Ethnic violence between the hill-dominated Kuki tribes and the Valley-majority Maiteis began on 3 May, when the Kukis staged a protest demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status by the Maiteis. More than 180 people have been killed in the violence and thousands have been internally displaced.