NEW DELHI: The Kuki-Zo people took out a “coffin rally” in Kangpokpi district on Tuesday to mark the fifth monthly Remembrance Day of the ethnic violence which engulfed Manipur in May and has since died down.
The Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) Sadar Hills, a civil society organization, held the rally to demand a political settlement of the Kuki-Zo people’s aspirations and to pay tribute to the victims of the violence.
FLASH: #Manipur: Coffin rally in Kangpokpi as part of remembrance day
As the Kuki-Zo people across Kangpokpi district observed the fifth remembrance day today, they demanded the Center for settlement of their political aspirations for the sake of justice and long-lasting… pic.twitter.com/1vqA8uhG5P
— The New Indian (@TheNewIndian_in) October 3, 2023
The rally began at the District Hospital morgue and marched to the Brig. M. Thomas Ground in Kangpokpi town, with participants carrying symbolic coffins. Various prominent Kuki-Zo leaders, village chiefs, and civil society organizations also attended the event.
In a resolution passed at the rally, the CoTU demanded that the central government immediately initiate a political dialogue with the Kuki-Zo people to address their grievances and aspirations. The resolution also called for the establishment of a separate administrative unit for the Kuki-Zo people in Manipur.
The CoTU also imposed a 15-hour total shutdown in Kangpokpi district on Tuesday as part of the remembrance day. However, emergency services, including medical and media, were exempted from the shutdown.
Ethnic violence broke out between hill-residing tribal communities like Kuki and Zo, and the valley-dwelling powerful Meiteis on May 3 following a rally to protest against the latter’s demand for tribal status and accompanying reservation in jobs and education. The violence lasted for several months and resulted in the deaths of over 100 people and the displacement of thousands more.
The Kuki-Zo people have long demanded a separate administrative unit in Manipur, arguing that they have been marginalized and discriminated against by the Meitei-dominated state government.