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Protesters in India bury dead after 632 days

By AFP   |   25 May 2017   |   11:47 am  

Indian relatives and villagers attend the funerals of eight people killed during protests against the former Congress state government in Manipur on May 24, 2017, 632 days after their deaths. The bodies of eight people shot dead during an anti-government protest in northeast India have been buried after 632 days, authorities said May 25, ending a long confrontation. The victims’ families were refusing to bury the bodies until their demands for proper compensation and action against the government officials who ordered the firing had been met. / AFP PHOTO / STR

The bodies of eight people shot dead during an anti-government protest in northeast India have been buried after 632 days, authorities said Thursday, ending a long confrontation.

The victims’ families were refusing to bury the bodies until their demands for proper compensation and action against the government officials who ordered the firing had been met.

They finally laid their loved ones to rest on Wednesday after a deal with the local government in the restive state of Manipur.

The state’s chief minister, N Biren Singh, tweeted photos showing hundreds of people paying their tributes to the dead.

“I salute you… for your love and understanding in solving the 620 days long crisis,” he tweeted.

The bodies had been in a hospital mortuary since the killings in August 2015 during protests over planned legislation that local indigenous communities feared would compromise their ancestral ownership rights.

Like much of India’s northeast, Manipur — which shares its eastern border with Myanmar — has long been plagued by sporadic separatist unrest and ongoing feuds between different tribal and ethnic groups.

Singh’s government reached an agreement with the protesters earlier this month, promising jobs and compensation to those bereaved or disabled in the incident.

The government also agreed to build a memorial for the victims and to hold discussions with the community on any future legislative changes.

Protest leader H. Mangchinkhup said it was not the end of their movement.

“We are giving rest to the martyrs. The families have been in mourning for the last 632 days. They too need rest. Our movement will continue,” he told AFP by phone.

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