Tribe members should be part of supervisory teams: Supreme Court to Manipur

Not a single person from the Zo-Kuki tribes is part of the seven teams of Ministers and MLAs formed to oversee work in relief camps: petitioner

July 11, 2023 10:18 pm | Updated July 12, 2023 10:02 am IST - NEW DELHI

A displaced boy looks out from a window of a relief camp in Churachandpur, Manipur on June 20, 2023.

A displaced boy looks out from a window of a relief camp in Churachandpur, Manipur on June 20, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

The Supreme Court on July 11 asked the Manipur government to ‘duly consider’ including members of the Zo-Kuki tribes in the teams of MLAs and Ministers formed by the State to oversee the supervision and management of relief camps for victims of the violence.

The fact that not a single MLA from the Zo-Kuki tribes was part of these teams was brought to light in court by advocate Nizam Pasha, appearing for Zomi Students Federation, before a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud.

“There are seven teams of Ministers and MLAs formed by the State government, as per a July 5 order, to oversee work in the relief camps in seven districts. The State Assembly has 60 MLAs. Thirty-five of these MLAs find their place in these teams… But not a single one is from the Zo-Kuki tribes,” Mr. Pasha submitted.

The seven teams are fanned out across Bishnupur, Churachandpur, Imphal West, Imphal West, Kangpokpi, Kakching & Thoubal and Tengnoupal.

Also Read | Manipur relief camps | From one eruption to another, day and night spread equal dread

The court recorded that the State should “duly consider” consider the suggestion for “suitable action”.

Orally, Chief Justice Chandrachud said broad-based committees tend to boost public confidence more.

“Better to include them,” Justice P.S. Narasimha told Mr. Mehta.

The court asked the State government to take “positive action” on other suggestions made by Mr. Pasha, including allowing families with missing relatives access to mortuaries with unclaimed bodies, identification of the dead and their handover for last rites.

Other suggestions listed for positive action include sufficient number of doctors in district hospitals in the hill districts, essential medical care and equipment, etc.

Also Read | Manipur violence victims staying in relief camps to get ₹1,000 assistance: CM Biren Singh

Mr. Pasha drew the court’s attention to the shortage of drinking water, food, sanitation, shelter and bedding in relief camps run by self-help groups in Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Chandel and Tengnoupal.

The court further asked Mr. Mehta to consider having security adviser Kuldeep Singh chair the inter-agency unified command rather than the Chief Minister. Mr. Pasha said this was what the Centre too wanted.

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