Six people were arrested in connection with the “kidnapping and killing” of two Manipuri youths, which led to violent protests in the northeastern state last week, Chief Minister N Biren Singh said here on Sunday.
The government will ensure the maximum punishment, including the death penalty, for them, Singh said.
In a joint operation with the Army and Manipur Police, the CBI detained four people in connection with the murder of two teenage students in the northeastern state who had gone missing in July, officials said.
They said two men and as many women were detained by the federal agency from Churachandpur district in Manipur.
Two children, who are juveniles, of one of the accused were taken along with the four as they were flown out of Manipur, the officials said.
They added that the children are likely to be handed over to their relatives.
The officials said the four people detained will be questioned and are likely to be placed under arrest.
"I’m pleased to share that some of the main culprits responsible for the abduction and murder of Phijam Hemanjit and Hijam Linthoingambi have been arrested from Churachandpur today.
"As the saying goes, one may abscond after committing the crime, but they cannot escape the long hands of the law. We are committed to ensuring maximum punishment, including capital punishment, for the heinous crime they have committed," the chief minister posted on X.
He, however, did not disclose where the four accused had been taken.
During the operation leading to their arrest, personnel of the Army, paramilitary forces such as BSF, CRPF and the state police played a major role, the chief minister said.
A team of CBI officials, led by the agency’s Special Director Ajay Bhatnagar, has reached Manipur and started investigating the killings on September 27.
The CBI recently registered a case to probe the death of the two teenagers after photos of their bodies went viral last month, sparking violent protests in the Imphal valley.
The killing of the two youths - Phijam Hemanjit, a 20-year-old man and Hijam Linthoingambi a girl of 17 years of age - had gone missing on July 6. Photos of their bodies surfaced on September 25 leading to violent protests mainly by students.
Following this, violent protests by students rocked the state capital on September 26 and 27. A mob tried to attack the ancestral house of the chief minister on the night of September 28, but security forces foiled the attempt.
Another mob also vandalised the deputy commissioner’s office in Imphal West district and torched two four-wheelers in the early hours of the same day.
Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey on September 29 visited the family members of the two slain youths.
More than 180 people lost their lives and several hundreds were injured since the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3, after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals -- Nagas and Kukis -- constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts.