TODAY -

Security beefed up ahead of mass burial move
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, August 02 2023: Security has been beefed up in the border areas of Churachandpur and Bishnupur districts, where Kuki organisations are planning mass burial of slain Kukis on Thursday.

Tribal leaders on Wednesday said that the burial of Kuki-Zo "martyrs" would be done on Thursday at Torbung Bangla in Bishnupur district.

However, the proposed burial site has been vehemently opposed by the state government, claiming that the land belongs to the government.

Subsequently, a large number of RAF personnel have been deployed at the proposed burial site since early morning Wednesday.

On learning of the deployment of RAF personnel at the burial site, women led by the ITLF Women Wing congregated at the site and protested against the deployment of security personnel leading to a minor stand-off between the RAF personnel and womenfolk after which the RAF personnel were seen leaving the burial site.

"We are burying our tribal heroes on our land.

This land belongs to us and this is our ancestral land, and no one dares to object to our move, we can bury our martyrs at any place, the state government should immediately stop obstructing our plan to bury our martyrs here in this place," said ITLF Women Wing Convenor Mary Jones.

When asked about the possibility of burying tribals at the proposed burial site, another leader of the ITLF Women Wing said, "We are no longer part of the Manipur government, we will surely bury our tribal martyrs tomorrow with full honour and no one has the right to object this.

The Manipur government should stop interfering in our affairs".

The burial programme will be held at the Wall of Remembrance Site at Tuibong, after which the gathering will head towards the proposed burial site in Haolai Khopi, where the dead will be laid to rest with full honours.

"We have about 30-35 dead bodies in Lamka morgue and if the state government sends us the remaining martyrs' bodies from Imphal, those would be buried too.

We would give our highest tribute to the martyrs','' Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) spokesman Ginza Vualzong told the media.

"There are many bodies of Kuki "martyrs' in the morgues of Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal.

We have requested the district administration to collect the bodies of the martyrs" and hand them over to us for the mass burial on Thursday" .

A large gathering of Kuki tribals is expected to be held in Churachandpur on Thursday on the occasion.

Police said that additional security forces have been deployed in the mass burial site and adjoining areas to prevent any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, Meitei organisations strongly opposed the tribal organisations' mass burial move.

The leader of the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), an umbrella body of the Meitei community, said that the so-called Kuki leaders should not play politics over the dead bodies.

"Every dead body of the Meitei community was being cremated at their native villages with due respect and recognition by their own near and dear ones.

Likewise we expect the Kuki people to follow the same practice in performing the last rites of the dead persons," a COCOMI leader said.

He said that encroaching of the government land is also a violation of laws and burying all together to newly create a mass grave at the abandoned Meitei villages would not only provoke the sentiments of the people on both sides but also remain as a symbol of permanent enmity among the villagers.

Since May 3, when the ethnic violence broke out, so far Kuki groups had never done anything that is acceptable to the law of the land, the COCOMI leader alleged.

The COCOMI requested the government to do something which would prove that the rule of law prevails in Manipur.

"We also request to check the identity of all the dead bodies too before being cremated at their respective village as per the law and confirm their citizenship," the organisation said in a statement.

(With input from Agencies) .


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