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Bodies of 8 Manipur tribals killed in 2015 violence finally buried

IANS | Imphal |

The bodies of eight tribal activists in Manipur, killed in a September 2015 violence, were interred on Wednesday after being kept in the mortuary for 600 days in the state's Churachandpur district.

Nine persons were killed in September 2015 during a violence that erupted after the Manipur Assembly passed three Inner Line Permit Bills in August 2015. One body was buried earlier.

The Manipur assembly had passed the three Inner Line Permit (ILP) bills on August 31, 2015. However, from the next morning, the tribals launched various forms of agitations against the "anti-tribal bills". 

The ILP is a special permit required to enter certain restricted areas in the country. The system is already in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. 

It was first introduced by the British, restricting entry into these areas to protect their commercial interests. The bills have been strongly opposed by tribals, particularly Nagas, who mainly inhabit the hill districts of Manipur.

The All Tribal Women's Union and the All Tribal Movement Lamka have also opposed the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Manipur government and the Joint Action Committee against the 'anti-tribal bills'. 

Under the MoU, the government agreed to pay each bereaved family Rs.5 lakh as ex-gratia and provide a job to its member. Besides, the 48 injured would be well looked after. 

After ending the four-month long economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) in Manipur, this is a major achievement of N Biren Singh's Bharatiya Janata Party-led government which assumed office on March 15 after elections to the state assembly. 

A tripartite MoU was signed in Churachandpur district on May 10. The eight bodies were lying in the district hospital morgue since September 2015 following dispute over demands of some agitating tribal groups.

As All Tribal Women's Union and the All Tribal Movement Lamka had opposed the MoU, the police had beefed up the security to maintain law and order. There was a business shutdown in the district and all offices and educational institutes were closed.

Though Chief Minister N Biren Singh was invited, he could not attend the function due to his prior official engagements. 

However, several elected members from Churachandpur district were present.