IMPHAL: The Committee on Tribal Unity (COTU), a prominent tribal organisation based in Kangpokpi district of Manipur, has urged authorities to transfer the bodies of deceased members of the Kuki-Zo community from morgues in Imphal to Kangpokpi. These individuals lost their lives during the ethnic strife that has gripped the state for the past five months.
Lun Kipgen, COTU Media Cell Coordinator, stressing on the significance of this request, told the press, ” We would appreciate if the authorities allowed the bodies of Kukis lying in Imphal morgues to be brought to Kangpokpi. After consulting with the family of the victims, the mortal remains will be buried at a cemetery at Phaijang.”
Kipgen did not provide an exact figure for the number of bodies awaiting transfer; however, estimates suggest the number could be as high as 50.
Additionally, the tribal body has also called upon the authorities and civil society organisations in Imphal to ensure safe transportation of the bodies to the Kuki-Zo dominated Kangpokpi. Kipgen added a word of caution about unidentified bodies, urging the authorities not to “hastily” dispose of them and to establish a system for their proper identification.
Interestingly, members of the Meitei community, who have faced similar losses in this strife, have already claimed the bodies of their kin from two government hospital mortuaries in Imphal, subsequently performing the last rites.
An official from the Imphal East district told a news agency that they are ready to act upon government directives but are waiting for a formal request from the tribal organisation.