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Manipur Violence: Mass Burial for Victims of India Ethnic Clashes

Sixty people who were killed during ethnic clashes in India’s north-eastern state of Manipur will be buried nearly eight months after the violence.

Bodies of 64 people who died in the violence were handed over to their families on Thursday.

The clashes between the majority Meitei group and the Kuki minority erupted on 3 May over sharing of government quotas.

The violence claimed at least 170 lives and displaced thousands of people.

The 64 bodies, including 60 from the Kuki community and four Meiteis, were kept in government mortuaries since early May.

They were airlifted from the capital Imphal and Churachandpur district on Thursday, and taken to their families in other parts of the state.

Committee on Tribal Unity, an organisation that works for the rights of tribal communities in Manipur, called for a 12-hour shutdown on Friday in the state’s Kangpokpi district where the Kuki victims will be buried.

The handing over of the bodies marked the “much-awaited homecoming of our fallen brothers and sisters after a long tumultuous eight months of despair, heartbreak and hopelessness,” the committee said in a statement.

The clashes between the Kukis and Meiteis have been marked by brutal killings and sexual crimes against women – and roughly two-thirds of those killed have been Kukis.

In August, India’s Supreme Court formed a committee comprising of three former high court judges to look into relief and rehabilitation in the state.

The committee’s report said that of 175 deaths reported in the state during the clashes, 169 had been identified while only 81 bodies had been claimed.

In November, the court directed the state government to facilitate the burial or cremation of the bodies that had been identified and remained unclaimed in morgues by December.

Source : BBC