Manipur HC orders status quo on proposed burial site for Kuki-Zomi people killed in violence
A leading Kuki-Zo organisation also said they were postponing plans for the burial service following requests from Union Home Minister Amit Shah
The Manipur High Court on Thursday, August 3, directed that the status quo be maintained at the proposed burial site in Haolai Khopi village of Churachandpur district where the Kuki-Zo community had planned a burial service for 35 people who were killed in ethnic riots in the state.
A leading Kuki-Zo organisation also said they were postponing plans for the burial service following requests from Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The HC order was passed by a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice M.V. Muralidaran after a hearing at 6 am.
The court directed the state and central governments and their law-enforcing agencies as well as the public to “maintain status quo” with regard to the land in question.
The bench also took into consideration the “potentiality of aggravating the already volatile law and order situation and the possibility of igniting a fresh wave of violence and bloodshed due to gathering of a large mob at the land in question”.
The Centre, the state government and aggrieved parties are also directed to make an effort for an amicable settlement in the matter, the bench, also comprising Justice A Guneshwar Sharma, said.
The order was passed hours before the commencement of the proposed burial service for 35 Kuki-Zo community people killed in the ethnic violence in the northeastern state.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), an organisation of the Kuki-Zo community, agreed to conditionally postpone the burial for five days after requests from the Union home minister.
They said Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga also requested the same.
“We had a marathon meeting last night till 4 am due to a new development. The MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) requested us to delay the burial for five more days and that if we comply with the request, we will be allowed to bury (35 people) in the same location and the government will legalise the land for the burial. The Mizoram CM had also made a similar request,” the ITLF said.
“After long deliberation with various stakeholders late in the night, we have come to a conclusion that we will consider the request of the MHA provided they give us a written assurance on five demands,” it said.
Earlier, additional central security forces had rushed to the Bishnupur-Churachandpur district boundary following the call by the ITLF.
More than 160 people lost their lives and several hundred 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.