IMPHAL: Three Manipuri Muslim boys were brutally beaten up at Mayang Imphal Yangbi Garden on Thursday around 4:30 pm . Two died and one is struggling to live.

The incident took place under Mayang Imphal Police station, Imphal West district .

The three boys were set upon by the assailants as they came out from the garden and thrashed mercilessly. Two died, and one has suffered serious injuries.. The two dead boys have been identified as Md, Sadam, 23 (s/o Md. Basiruddin ) and Md. Farooque, 22 (s/o Md. Badaruddin) from Lilong Kaleikhong while another boy Md.Zabir,19 (s/o Abdul Hakim) of Lilong Awang Leikai was severely injured and admitted to hospital. All are students.

This incident follows the brutal assault on six Manipuri Muslim boys on March 25, at Iram Siphai. The matter was not reported by most sections of the media.

In the current case it is not clear whether the boys were the targets of a communal assault, or were paying the price for the stereotype that has attached itself to the Pangal community that is seen as criminal. Reports suggest that they were taken as bike lifters and then attacked.

Speaking about this incident, Pradip Phanjoubam , Editor of Free Press, imphal said, “this probably had "little" or nothing to do with communalism or beef eating, as many are too eager to conclude. I qualify my statement with "little" as I am not sure if the bike lifters had belonged to another community, they would have been beaten as badly. This stigmatisation of Pangals as petty criminals must end. But then, at about this time, another mob dismantled and destroyed the house of a man accused of killing his cousin and he belonged to another community. Manipur, in many ways is still a very savage place. Incidentally, both these crimes went unnoticed as the media too were on an extended 5-day Yaoshang holiday when it happened.”

However, there are two versions of the incident. One group is of the opinion that the crime has a communal angle, while other insist that this is not likely.

The Congress Chief Minister of Manipur Ibobo Singh has not said a single word on the incident and no action has been taken so far to arrest the culprits. This has further agitated the community. The family members of the victims have been particularly critical of the state government.

Speaking to The Citizen, Dr M Amarjeet Singh, Associate Professor at the Center for North East Studies and Policy Research of Jamia Millia Islamia college said, " Manipur is different from other states. There are layers and layers of conflict. It would be unfair to say the killings were by the communal forces and at the same time no one can rule that out. So the matter need proper investigations. Detailed investigations can bring out tge truth".

Inaction of the government has been questioned by the local media.