The Manipur High Court has issued notice to the officials of the Union government, state government, state police, army and Assam Rifles on a contempt petition filed by the International Meeteis Forum that alleged the authorities of violating the HC order.
The HC on August 3 passed an order for maintaining status quo at the site where mass burial of Kuki-Zo community members who lost their lives in conflict was to take place.
A bench comprising the acting Chief Justice MV Muralidaran and Justice A Guneshwar Sharma issued notice to the secretary of the state government, commissioner (home), government of Manipur, deputy commissioner of Churachandpur district, secretary of Union Home Ministry, general commander in chief of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army, inspector general of AR.
The HC has also sought response from the chairman of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum and convenor of the joint philanthropic organisations.
According to the petitioner, the proposed burial site at S Boljang of Haolal Khopi village, Churachandpur, is located within a government complex where a sericulture farm opiates and they emphasise that the land in question is government notified and a status quo ante had to maintain at the spot as per the HC directives.
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Despite the court order, tension escalated as locals, particularly women, took to the streets to protect and sought access to the intended burial site, it alleged.
And also, despite the claims by Pagin Haokip, chairman of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum, about the postponement of the mass burial, a significant mob from Churachandpur and S Kotlien vandalised Meitei houses in Torbung Bangla on August 5.
The mob allegedly employed bulldozers to destroy the area, including the government sericulture farm, in clear defiance of the court’s order, the petitioner alleged, stating that such acts took place despite the presence of the police, army and central paramilitary forces.
The petitioner further claimed that they had obtained drone footage of the location, revealed the destruction of the structures and contended that the Manipur police, the state government, the Union government, Army and the planners of the intended burial had displayed contempt by deliberately disregarding the court’s directives.
“Utilising the government sericulture farm land exclusively for the Kuki-Zo community mass burial without proper legal authorities is a malicious and improper act”, said the petitioner, emphasising that such actions not only harm their interest but also cast a shadow on the HC reputation in the eyes of the general public.
The petitioner sought an initiation of a contempt proceeding against the respondents under Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.