Manipur High Court Directs to Maintain Status Quo at Proposed Mass Burial Site for Kuki-Zomi People

3 August, 2023 | Anamika Singh Parihar

Manipur National

Manipur High Court orders maintaining status quo at Haolai Khopi burial site for 35 ethnic strife victims, following a hearing by Acting Chief Justice Muralidharan.

At the proposed burial site in Churachandpur district’s Haolai Khopi village, where the Kuki-Zo community had planned a funeral service for 35 individuals who were slain in the ethnic conflict, the Manipur High Court ordered that the status quo be maintained on Thursday, July 3.

Following a hearing at 6 am, Acting Chief Justice MV Muralidharan issued the HC order.

In the meantime, at Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s request, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), a Kuki-Zo community organization, also consented to a five-day conditional postponement of the burial. They said that Zoramthanga, the chief minister of Mizoram, had made a similar request.

ILTF stated that “We had a marathon meeting last night till 4 am due to new development. The MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) requested us to delay the burial for five more days and that if we comply with that request, we will be allowed to bury in the same location and the government will legalize the land for the burial. The Mizoram CM had also made a similar request.”

ILTF stated that “We have concluded that we will consider the request of the MHA provided they give us a written assurance on five demands after a long deliberation with various stakeholders late at night.”

Earlier, in response to the ITLF’s request, more central security troops had hurried to the border between the districts of Bishnupur and Churachandpur.

Since the May 3 ethnic riots in Manipur began, more than 160 people have died and many hundred have been injured. The protests began with a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ in the hill areas, which was held in opposition to the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) designation.

The majority of Meiteis, who make up roughly 53% of Manipur’s population, reside in the Imphal Valley. The Naga and Kuki tribes make up just over 40% of the population and are primarily found in hilly areas.

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