Amit Shah promised more central forces; burial of bodies at alternative site: Kuki group
A delegation of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum of Manipur here on Wednesday met Union Home Minister amit Shah, who assured them that the deployment of central security forces in the ethnic violence-hit state will be further strengthened and reoriented to plug any gaps in vulnerable areas.
In a statement, the ITLF said in view of a request of the home minister, the group will finalise an alternative location, in consultation with the people, for burial of bodies of ethnic violence victims belonging to the Kuki-Zo community which are lying in Imphal.
“The meeting was held as a follow-up of the appeal issued by the Government of India (GoI) on August 3, 2023, to amicably resolve the issue of burial of the mortal remains of the victims of ethnic violence in Manipur. On the request of ITLF leaders, the land of the (Manipur) industry department at the government sericulture farm may be allotted for burial of the mortal remains,” it said.
“The Union home minister assured that the said land will only be utilised for a common public purpose in consultation with the ITLF and other stakeholders. The GoI requested the delegation not to insist on carrying out the burial programme at the same venue, which falls within the conflict zone, and identify an alternate location in consultation with DC Churachandpur and perform the burial at the earliest,” the statement said.
Necessary arrangements will be made to facilitate identification and transportation of bodies of victims lying in Imphal to their hometowns, it said.
The mass burial of Kuki-Zo community victims was postponed last week following protests by Meitei groups and the Union home ministrys intervention. The Meitei groups objected to the proposed site and demanded that the mass burial take place deep inside Churachandpur district.
Taking note of apprehensions of hill residents about their safety and security, the home minister assured that deployment of central security forces in the state will be further strengthened and reoriented to plug any gaps in vulnerable areas, the ITLF said.
The state security forces will operate under the direction of the state security advisor and in conjunction with the central security forces in hill areas, it said. The government also assured to facilitate early initiation of helicopter services for residents of Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Moreh areas for them to reach their preferred destinations.
Considering the difficulties being faced by the student community of hill areas, necessary steps will be taken to allow them to enrol in colleges in hill areas, transfer to universities outside the state and open student facilitation centres of the Manipur University in Churachandpur and Kangpokpi, the ITLF said.
While assuring that the condition of prison inmates belonging to the Kuki-Zo community will be monitored regularly, the government also assured that a separate office of the Justice Lamba Inquiry Commission will be set up in Churachandpur with immediate effect.
The government also urged for cooperation and support of the ITLF and the Kuki-Zo community in early disposal of the mortal remains of the victims of the ethnic violence, construction of pre-fabricated housing for internally displaced people and restoration of peace in the state to enable progress in the peace talks for resolving the long-term issues of the community expeditiously, the statement said.
Ethnic clashes first broke out between Kukis and Meiteis in Manipur on May 3 and since then, nearly 160 people have lost their lives.
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