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Burial of Manipur COVID-19 victim opposed

A Manipur-based group has opposed the burial of a COVID-19 victim who taught in a Haryana university but was born in adjoining Myanmar.

The United Naga Council (UNC) mourned the death of 42-year-old Nehginpao Kipgen at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on May 2, but questioned his citizenship and the “legal ground” for the burial of his body in Manipur’s Kangpokpi district.

The UNC said Dr. Kipgen, who headed the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at the OP Jindal University, was not an ‘indigenous’ to Manipur and asked if he had acquired Indian citizenship under due procedure.

“This question is undoubtedly important for an unfailing consideration in a multi-ethnic society like the State of Manipur,” the council said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Thadou Inpi, apex body of the Thadou community, had sought permission from the district authorities to let the ambulance carrying Dr. Kipgen’s body stop for 30 minutes for people to pay their “last respect as per customary practices”.

Granting the permission, Kangpokpi Deputy Commissioner Somorjit Salam issued an order on May 5 for adherence to pandemic protocols during the homage rituals and burial at Leikot village in the district’s Saitu-Gamphazol subdivision. Dr. Kipgen was buried late Wednesday evening.

The Thadou Students’ Association, General Headquarters said Dr. Kipgen was a citizen by convention though he was born in Teijang village in Myanmar.

“His relatives are from Kangpokpi and his wife is from Churachandpur [Manipur]. He did all his schooling in Manipur, did his Ph.D. in Hyderabad after studying in the U.S. in between, and had been teaching in India,” a spokesperson of the association said.

The Thadous belong to the Kuki-Chin group who live on either side of the India-Myanmar border. Many are believed to have crossed over to Manipur since the 1940s.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 3:13:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/burial-of-manipur-covid-19-victim-opposed/article34498240.ece

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