India’s Manipur State lays to rest victims of ethnic clashes

At least 180 people have died since fierce fighting broke out between members of the majority Meitei and minority Kuki communities in May, following a court order suggesting privileges granted to Kukis also be extended to Meiteis.

Earlier efforts to carry out the last rites of the deceased were marred by conflicts between the communities, which prevented the bodies from being handed over to relatives, as well as legal disputes.

More than 60 victims were buried last week in a similar ceremony, following directions from the Supreme Court to give victims a “dignified burial”.

Those buried on Wednesday belonged to the Kuki and Zomi tribes, according to officials from the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), an apex tribal body.

They were laid to rest in Churachandpur district in the presence of hundreds of mourners who chanted slogans declaring them martyrs.

Local gospel choirs sang funeral songs before the burial while friends and relatives placed floral wreaths on the coffins of the deceased before a special prayer was said as they were lowered into the graves, S. Vunminthang, a church leader present, told Reuters by telephone.

Churachandpur is among the areas in the state that continue to remain tense. Prohibitory orders have been imposed in the district for the next two months following clashes between two groups earlier this week.

Of its residents, 16% are Kukis, who live in the hills and receive economic benefits and quotas for government jobs and education, while 53% are Meiteis, who control the more prosperous lowlands.

(Writing by Sakshi Dayal; Editing by Alison Williams)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

At least 180 people have died since fierce fighting broke out between members of the majority Meitei and minority Kuki communities in May, following a court order suggesting privileges granted to Kukis also be extended to Meiteis.

Earlier efforts to carry out the last rites of the deceased were marred by conflicts between the communities, which prevented the bodies from being handed over to relatives, as well as legal disputes.

More than 60 victims were buried last week in a similar ceremony, following directions from the Supreme Court to give victims a “dignified burial”.

Those buried on Wednesday belonged to the Kuki and Zomi tribes, according to officials from the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), an apex tribal body.

They were laid to rest in Churachandpur district in the presence of hundreds of mourners who chanted slogans declaring them martyrs.

Local gospel choirs sang funeral songs before the burial while friends and relatives placed floral wreaths on the coffins of the deceased before a special prayer was said as they were lowered into the graves, S. Vunminthang, a church leader present, told Reuters by telephone.

Churachandpur is among the areas in the state that continue to remain tense. Prohibitory orders have been imposed in the district for the next two months following clashes between two groups earlier this week.

Of its residents, 16% are Kukis, who live in the hills and receive economic benefits and quotas for government jobs and education, while 53% are Meiteis, who control the more prosperous lowlands.

(Writing by Sakshi Dayal; Editing by Alison Williams)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

Over 180 people have died in fierce fighting between the Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur, India. The conflict arose after a court order suggested extending privileges granted to Kukis to Meiteis as well. Previous attempts to carry out the last rites were hindered by conflicts between the communities and legal disputes. Following directions from the Supreme Court to provide a “dignified burial,” more than 60 victims, belonging to the Kuki and Zomi tribes, were buried last week in Churachandpur district. The burial was attended by hundreds of mourners who declared the victims as martyrs. The area remains tense, and prohibitory orders have been imposed for the next two months. Manipur has a population of 16% Kukis, who live in the hills and receive economic benefits, and 53% Meiteis, who control the more prosperous lowlands. The recent burial ceremony aimed to bring some closure to the ongoing ethnic clashes in the region.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending

Related Articles