The agonizing quest for answers continues for the parents of the two missing Manipuri youths, whose case sparked widespread protests in the Imphal valley. In an emotional plea on September 28, they requested government to locate the remains of their children, allowing them to conduct the final rites "with the dignity they deserve."
With the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) stepping into the investigation of the kidnapping and death of the young couple, who disappeared in July this year, there is renewed hope that the mystery surrounding their final resting place will be unraveled.
Hijam Kulajit, the father of the 18-year-old girl, expressed his family's anguish, saying, "We just want to see our children one last time and conduct their last rites with the dignity they deserve. Nothing can substitute the loss. According to Meitei custom, at least a small portion of the clothes they wore is needed to perform the last rites and give them a farewell."
He added, "Whenever I see her photo, it makes me completely restless, and I can't find peace in my heart. Her mother has lost her senses and become bed-ridden while embracing a photo of our daughter."
The two young individuals went missing on July 6 and were last captured on CCTV footage in Nambol, Bishnupur district. Their phones were traced by the police to Lamdan in the Kuki-dominated Churachandpur district.
"At first, we assumed they had eloped, but after contacting the boy's family, we sensed something was amiss. I don't understand why they had to be killed," Kulajit questioned.
Meanwhile, the family of the 20-year-old boy is struggling to come to terms with the situation. Unable to accept their son's untimely demise, his mother continues to prepare his meals daily.
"It's been two-and-a-half months now, but I haven't washed my son's blanket as I can still smell him," she said.
In accordance with Meitei custom, both mothers offer incense sticks, candles, and a small portion of food in front of their children's photographs daily, maintaining this ritual until the final rites are conducted.
Both families hold onto hope that the CBI's involvement will lead to the discovery of their children's bodies and the revelation of the circumstances surrounding their tragic deaths.
On September 27, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh revealed that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had assured him that those responsible for the abduction and murder of the two Manipuri youths would be arrested and face justice.
A team of CBI officials, led by the agency's Special Director Ajay Bhatnagar, arrived in the state on Wednesday to initiate a probe into the case. This incident has sent shockwaves through the Imphal valley, resulting in two days of impassioned protests by students and youth in the state capital, resulting in over 60 people being injured.
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