Manipur Violence: Bodies of 64 Victims Handed Over to Families; Tribal Body Calls 12-Hr Shutdown for Funerals

Imphal: In a sombre culmination to months of mourning, the bodies of 64 victims of Manipur’s ethnic clashes were finally handed over to their families on Thursday, December 14th. The remains, held in morgues since May’s eruption of violence, were released under tight security measures, marking a poignant step towards closure for grieving communities.

The Supreme Court-appointed committee investigating the tragedy reported a total of 175 deaths, 169 of whom were identified. Strict security protocols were implemented by Manipur Police and the Assam Rifles, ensuring safe passage for the bodies. Sixty victims from the Kuki community were airlifted from JNIMS and RIMS hospitals, while four Meitei victims were transported from a Churachandpur morgue.

The Committee on Tribal Unity expressed gratitude to the Supreme Court for its understanding of the Kuki-Zo communities’ sentiments. The burial rituals for the Kuki victims will be held tomorrow, Friday, at the Martyr Cemetery in Phaijang.

The Supreme Court’s intervention proved crucial in expediting this long-awaited process. The court, recognizing the financial strain and disrespect to the deceased caused by prolonged storage of unclaimed bodies, had mandated burial or cremation by December 11th. Additionally, the court authorized the state to handle unidentified bodies, respecting their religious customs.

The clashes, sparked by protests against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, exposed the complex demographic dynamics of Manipur. The May 3rd eruption of violence, claiming 175 lives, underscored the need for prompt resolution of inter-community tensions.

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