As the Kuki-Zo people across Kangpokpi district observed the 5th Remembrance Day on Tuesday, they demanded the Centre for settlement of their political aspirations for the sake of justice and long-lasting peace.
The 5th Remembrance Day was held at Brig M Thomas Ground, Kangpokpi town under the aegis of the Committee on Tribal Unity Sadar Hills.
As part of the observation, CoTU also imposed a 15-hour total shutdown in the entire district apart from displaying a coffin rally and candlelight vigil to pay tributes.
CoTU general secretary Lamminlun Singsit gave the welcome and keynote address as the village volunteers displayed the coffin rally while reverend Kangpokpi District Tribal Churches Forum chairman Lamkeng Lhouvum dedicated the coffin and altars or offerings for the Kuki-Zo people.
Former president of All Manipur Christian Organisation reverend Prim Vaiphei who is also among the last Kuki-Zo evacuated from Imphal attended the event as the main speaker.
A minute's silence was observed by the thousands gathering as the village volunteers laid the coffins and various prominent Kuki-Zo leaders put a garland each over the coffins as a mark of respect and tribute to the Kuki-Zo martyrs.
CoTU media Cell Coordinator Ng Lun Kipgen said that the 5th Remembrance Day was observed to commemorate and pay respect to the departed souls.
He said that during these five months, more than 140 innocent Kuki-Zo people were killed and 41,000 people were rendered homeless.
“It is extremely sad that the NIA and CBI are busy arresting our people including students’ leaders and minor girls,” he said. He appealed to the central investigating agencies to be impartial in delivering justice.
“We demand the immediate release of all the innocent Kuki-Zo as they were arrested on flimsy grounds without any substantial evidence apparently to appease the majority Meiteis,” he added.
“If the Centre really wants to solve the issue, they have to act in a non-partisan manner,” he asserted. Various prominent Kuki-Zo leaders, village chiefs, civil society organizations also attended the event.