Status quo ordered on Manipur mass burial site


Hours before a planned mass burial of Kuki-Zomi people killed in Manipur’s ethnic violence, the high court on Thursday ordered that the status quo be maintained at the proposed burial site in Churachandpur district, while ITLF, an apex tribal body, said it was postponing the funeral service plans by seven days following requests from the Union home ministry.
Meanwhile, 17 people were injured in clashes as Army and RAF personnel fired tear gas shells in Kangvai and Phougakchao areas in Bishnupur district on Thursday to stop a procession from proceeding to the proposed burial site violating restrictions on gatherings, officials said.
The district magistrates of Imphal East and Imphal West withdrew curfew relaxations earlier announced, imposing the restrictions during the day as a precautionary measure, on top of the night curfew throughout the Imphal valley.
The Kuki-Zomi organisation, Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum, had planned the burial of 35 people, who were killed in ethnic riots in the state, on Thursday at a site in Haolai Khopi village of Churachandpur, resulting in tension in many districts of Manipur.
The HC bench headed by Acting Chief Justice MV Muralidaran started hearing the case early at 6 am, given the urgency of the matter, and 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.
It also said the matter would come up for further hearing on August 9.
The bench 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.