December 1, 2023
symbolizing the legal focus

Considering the violence that occurred in Manipur that culminated in multiple deaths, the Indian Supreme Court has achieved an important step in ensuring that the respect of the deceased remains preserved during times of difficulty.

The ruling of the court highlights the value of a respectable cremation or funeral, recognizing that fundamental human rights need to be respected even in extremely difficult circumstances. This landmark ruling demonstrates a dedication to showing understanding, respect, and compassion for those affected and their families.

Manipur Violence: Commencement and Reason

  • As per the Manipur violence reports, the Kuki & Naga tribes, who live in the hills of Manipur and are considered Scheduled Tribes, or the most disadvantaged people in India, staged a protest on May 3 against the potential extension of their privileges to the majority Meiteis.
  • The Manipur High Court’s recommendation that the government take into consideration Meitei’s claim and set a time limit gave them a boost, even though they had been requesting special advantages for almost ten years.
  • Since Meiteis make up about half of Manipur’s population, giving them access to limited equal treatment quotas would let them compete for government jobs and educational opportunities that are currently only available to Kukis and Nagas.
  • Additionally, they now have easier access to economic and employment prospects.
  • Kukis and Nagas inhabit the underdeveloped hills.
  • A source of conflict and rivalry amongst the ethnic groups has been the development imbalance that favours the valley over the hills.

Manipur News: Its Effects

As per the Manipur news updates:

  • When the fighting started, crowds ransacked police stations, taking away 3,000 rifles and 600,000 rounds of ammunition.
  • Due to rival Meitei as well as Kuki-Zo militias erecting barriers to keep out people from the other community, the state has split along ethnic lines.
  • More than 150 people have died in clashes, but many in Manipur think the toll could be higher.
  • Around 60,000 individuals have been compelled to leave their homes and are seeking refuge in neighbouring states or aid centers.
  • Retaliatory strikes have resulted in the burning of houses and institutions of worship.
  • 17 Hindu temples along with more than 220 churches had been destroyed.

Supreme Court Guidelines on Burying of Dead Bodies: Recent Manipur Case Updates

In order to ensure that those who died of the violence in Manipur will be buried or cremated with respect, the Supreme Court has issued specific directives. The court is cognizant of how sensitive the conditions are and how the incorrect care of the person who passed away might contribute to significant distress. The directive emphasizes the importance of empathy and beneficial treatment for individuals who endured the ultimate loss, reaching beyond merely legal constraints.

  • Without intervention from outside parties, the next of kin of the identified and claimed bodies may perform the last rites of passage at any of the nine locations.
  • The identified bodies’ next of kin will be notified by the state authorities. We have until next Monday to complete this activity.
  • By December 4, 2023, the state government will notify the next of kin regarding bodies that have been identified but not claimed.
  • The State may cremate or bury unidentified dead as long as religious rites are properly observed.
  • In order to ensure that funerals and final rites are conducted in a civilized manner, the Collector and SP are free to take the necessary actions to maintain law and order.
  • The State will see to it that DNA samples that weren’t taken at the autopsy are obtained.
  • The state may publish a notice informing the public that the state may perform final rites if the identified bodies are not claimed within a week.
  • There has been a complaint made about multiple bodies found in Imphal.
  • The state government must provide the necessary means for next of kin in relief camps or elsewhere to receive bodies for funeral ceremonies. We instruct the chief secretary to take the necessary actions in this regard, and the state administration will comply.

A dignified funeral or burial has more implications for the impacted community rather than merely the individual.

Upon consideration of the Supreme Court’s directives about the dignified cremation as well as the burial of the Manipur case violence victims, it is evident that under catastrophic situations, human decency and respect for fundamental human rights must prevail. The court’s proactive strategy sets a standard for addressing emergencies in the future by emphasizing the importance it is to always behaving with decency, empathy, and compassion.

The Supreme Court’s reinforcement of the right to a dignified demise serves as additional proof that, even in extremely challenging scenarios, our steadfast commitment to basic human rights can act as a shining example for a society that is more empathetic and just.

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