Security has been beefed up in Manipur’s Churachandpur district, where tribal organisations have planned 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 Peace Ground, Tuibuong (Lamka) in Churachandpur.
“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 tribals 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, the 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 in 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.