Tribal “martyrs” laid to rest, finally

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CHURACHANDPUR | May 24: The last rites of the eight tribal martyrs was done today at the Khuga Dam near the old helipad and the longest preservation of eight dead bodies of about 632 days at the morgue of Churchandpur District Hospital came to an end with their burial. The burial was done in accordance to Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the government of Manipur with the Joint Actions Committee Against Anti Tribal Bills (JACAATB). The funeral service witnessed a gun salute in the honour of the eight “martyrs.”
The tribal “martyrs” lost their lives in protest against the three bills passed in the Manipur State Assembly on the August 21, 2015 by the then Congress government led by former Chief Minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh. No movement has gathered such momentum and support in the hills of Manipur as the three anti-tribal bills, having mass support from different communities and crossing district boundaries, tribes and languages, people came to pay their condolences at the Churchandpur District Hospital morgue .
In today’s funeral programme, ministers, V Hangkhanlian, Nemcha Kipgen and Thongam Biswajit and denizens of the town and other areas of the hills had come together for the memorial service of the eight tribal martyrs and the district public ground was excessively packed including the unfinished gallery of the under construction stadium. Leaders of Innpis and leaders from Mizoram, different districts of Manipur, Delhi, Mumbai, ADCC chairman and his cabinet including its former chairman and a representative from centre Tribal Affairs Minister, head of district Administration and media persons from state, national and
International took part in the unprecedented event in the history of Churachandpur. During the mass funeral service, the chief convenor of JACAATB, Mangchinkhup Hauzel said it’s time to set long term and short terms goal and burial of the bodies of tribal “martyrs” does not mean the end of the political demand or movement. However, it can be considered that the current stage is an accomplishment of short term goal but the long term measures will depend on the unity including the tribal representative or elected members, arms group and the people, he added. The district in charge minister, V Hangkhanlian spoke on behalf of the government of Manipur in the programme said that the long overdue burial was not the last of the aspiration of the tribals which is known by everyone.
He further said that let us work together in unity among the different sections of people in the district and also among the District administration, DC, SP, commander of 27th Sector AR and CO of 25thAR apart from Tribe leaders and philanthropic organisations from Churanchandpur as well as other districts. Minister, Thongam Bishwajit said that more than 600 days of mourning, toils and tears has come to an end and the government give their salutation to the eight “martyrs” and also appreciated JACAATB for making the movement arrive to this point and now we should look forward for development and unity.
A representative from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs at the Centre, Linda Newmai read out the message from the minister, Joyram which said that he regret being unable to come in person but the Central government share the pain of the tribal people and their suffering and said that this will be a step forward where different community in the state will led communal harmony prevail in the state and bring developments.
The programme also witnessed representatives from Mizo Zillai Pawl (MZP GHQ) and Mizo Student Union (MSU), who came all the way from Mizoram to show their solidarity where the executive member of MZP GHQ Chinkham Thomte said that they are happy to know that the burial take place with the demand of JACAATB and further said that MZP had done their bid to ask the chief minister of Mizoram to get involved and submitted a memorandum to the concerned department many times to express their hope that the burial will bring about unity of the Zo suan (descendent of Zo).
After the formal programme of memorial service for the tribal “martyrs” in the public ground, a procession till the burial ground located at Mata Dam was carried out by Royal Riders Manipur, followed by the vehicle carrying the mortal remains of the martyrs and their family and leaders of Innpi, including the Hmar Innpi, who had been withdrawn from JACAATB in the past. The vehicle started from Lamka town at 2 pm and finished around 4:30 pm with huge crowd witnessing the final rites at the ground which will soon be converted into a martyrs memorial park as per the MoU signed this month, and the martyrs’ body were transported by selected volunteers in different vehicles along their family members under expenses borne by the state government and the mortal remains are laid to rest at a grave of 7×24 feet long.
Source: Imphal Free Press

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