The Manipur High Court on Thursday directed that the status quo be maintained at the proposed burial site in Haolai Khopi village of Churachandpur district where the Kuki-Zo community had planned a burial service for 35 people who were killed in the ethnic strife.
The HC order was passed by Acting Chief Justice MV Muralidharan after a hearing at 6 am.
Meanwhile, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF), an organisation of the Kuki-Zo community, also agreed to conditionally postpone the burial for five days after requests from Union Home Minister Amit Shah. They said Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga also requested the same.
We had a marathon meeting last night till 4 am due to a new development. The MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) requested us to delay the burial for five more days and that if we comply with that request, we will be allowed to bury in the same location and the government will legalise the land for the burial. The Mizoram CM had also made a similar request, the ITLF said.
After long deliberation with various stakeholders late in the night, we have come to a conclusion that we will consider the request of the MHA provided they give us a written assurance on five demands, it said.
Earlier, additional central security forces had rushed to the Bishnupur-Churachandpur district boundary following the call by the ITLF. More than 160 people lost their lives and several hundred were injured since the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3, after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals—Nagas and Kukis—constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts.