IMPHAL: The mortal remains of 60 Kuki-Zo individuals, victims of the Manipur ethnic conflict, were airlifted from Imphal morgues on Thursday.
The bodies, housed since the crisis began in the state on May 3, are set to be accorded a solemn farewell in their respective hometowns.
Under heavy security cover provided by central forces, the bodies were transferred from the morgues in Imphal to Kangpokpi district, predominantly inhabited by the Kuki-Zo tribal community.
The Joint Philanthropic Organisation (JPO) issued a statement on December 13 requesting the closure of shops, vendors, vehicles, and business establishments as a mark of respect during the transportation of the martyrs’ remains. The shutdown commenced from 2 pm today.
Reportedly, 19 bodies have reached the Motbung LS ground in Kangpokpi district, where the district police handed them over to representatives of the Committee on the Unidentified (COTU) on behalf of the bereaved families.
The transportation operation involved the Indian Air Force airlifting nine bodies initially, followed by another 10, both reaching Motbung in Kangpokpi district.
For Kangpokpi, a mass burial for the 19 bodies is scheduled at Phaijang village on Friday (December 15), approximately 1 km from Motbung.
However, specific burial arrangements for the 41 bodies intended for Churachandpur district are pending confirmation.
The Supreme Court, on November 28, had directed the Manipur government to facilitate dignified burials for the victims of the Manipur violence.
A committee, led by Justice Gita Mital, had apprised the court of 175 dead bodies without burials in the state, including 169 identified bodies.
Of these, 81 were claimed by relatives, 88 remained unclaimed, and six were unidentified in the mortuaries.
The court’s directive followed the committee’s report, stressing on the need for respectful and proper arrangements for the deceased.