Central Tragic Abduction and Murders Rock Imphal: Urgent Appeal for Justice and Safety

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The bodies of a man and a woman, both with gunshot wounds, were discovered in Imphal East and Imphal West on Tuesday. Police have not yet confirmed their identities. The discovery came hours after four individuals from the Kuki-Zomi community were abducted from the Kangchup Chinkhong area, which sits on the border of the Kuki-Zomi dominated Kangpokpi and the Meitei-dominated Imphal West district. The four individuals are relatives of an Indian Army soldier.

Imphal West SP Shivakanta confirmed that the body of a middle-aged woman, with a bullet wound, was found in the Tairenpokpi area on Wednesday. Her identity has not yet been confirmed, and her body is currently at the morgue at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences. The body was recovered from the jurisdiction of Patsoi police station in Imphal West around 12:30 pm on Tuesday.

The man’s body was discovered in Kongba Ucheckon late Tuesday evening, under the jurisdiction of Irilbung police station in Imphal East. Official sources reported that the deceased was blindfolded and his hands were tied. Locals heard gunshots around 6:30 pm, and the body was found later by passersby, who reported it to the police. The deceased was wearing a camouflage pattern jacket and jeans, and his body is currently at the morgue of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences.

On Tuesday, around 8:45 am, five people from the Kuki-Zomi community were abducted by unknown assailants near Kangchup Chinkhong. Four of them are relatives of Henthing Haokip, a soldier with the Indian Army. One of the abducted individuals, 65-year-old Manglun Haokip, the soldier’s father, was rescued in a severely injured condition and airlifted to Dimapur for medical treatment.

Letkhoneh Haokip, the soldier’s elder brother, explained that their family members were on their way from Churachandpur to Kangpokpi that morning. He mentioned that another younger brother of his, who lives in a different location, had married a woman from Kangpokpi, and the family was traveling to meet her relatives.

“It was a normal morning. They had left for a happy occasion and they were traveling on a route that we had heard other people had used… We are unable to speak to our father because he has not regained consciousness yet. And we have no idea where our mother, or the other missing people are,” he said.

Their mother Nengkim (60) is among the missing, along with another woman, Neilam (55), and two men, John Thangjalam Haokip (25) and Jamkhothang (40).

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum held the Meitei radical group Arambai Tenggol responsible for the abduction and issued a statement appealing for a search operation to be launched by central security forces to rescue them, stating that “we fear they may have been killed or are being tortured”.

According to ITLF, Kuki-Zomi “volunteers” retaliated on Tuesday, resulting in nine Meiteis being injured in several locations.

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