Army back on Manipur streets after fresh violence hits Imphal

Tensions escalate in Imphal as clashes erupt between Meitei and Kuki communities, security forces beefed up .

Imphal, TNI Bureau: Security forces were swiftly deployed to a neighborhood in Manipur’s capital Imphal, after fresh clashes erupted today, shattering the fragile peace that had prevailed in recent days. According to police sources, a section of the Meitei and Kuki communities in the New Checkon locality clashed over space in a local market.

Earlier in the day, the curfew, which had been relaxed until 4 pm in Imphal, was reimposed after 1 pm due to the latest flare-up in violence.

Over the past month, Manipur has been plagued by ethnic clashes arising from various issues. At the beginning of the month, clashes erupted in the hilly state when Kuki tribals organized a solidarity march on May 3 to protest against the Meiteis’ demand for Scheduled Tribe status. The violence, which simmered for over a week, resulted in the death of more than 70 people. Property worth crores was set ablaze, and thousands of individuals were compelled to leave their homes and seek refuge in government-organized camps.

Support Independent Journalism? Keep us live.

The clashes were preceded by tensions stemming from the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which led to a series of smaller agitations. Despite the fact that Meiteis constitute 64 percent of the state’s population, they are only allowed to occupy 10 percent of the state’s territory in the notified hill areas due to restrictions on non-tribals purchasing land. The inclusion of Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe category would grant them the ability to purchase land in the hills, a possibility that has deeply unsettled the tribals.

The Kukis allege that the state’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, led by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, has systematically targeted them with the intention of removing them from the forests and their homes in the hills. They have also claimed that the government’s war on drugs was a pretense to carry out the evictions. The army and paramilitary forces have maintained a presence in the state, conducting regular patrols and assisting civilians.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured the public that action will be taken against those involved in the violence and has met with representatives from both communities to address the situation.

Comments are closed.