June 5, 2023
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Authorities in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur have evacuated about 20,000 people to camps under army protection to prevent an escalation of violence in the region. According to official data alone, at least 30 people became victims of interethnic clashes, informs The Guardian.

Indian troops were also deployed to Manipur with orders to “shoot on the spot” at curfew violators. Violent clashes in the region continue for the third day.

The situation has heated up over old ethnic divisions between the majority Meitei community, which is mostly Hindu and lives in the Imphal Valley, and the predominantly Christian tribes living in the surrounding hills. Tribes, mainly Nagas and Kuki, make up about 40% of the total population of Manipur.

For two decades, the Meitei have been demanding that they be granted the status of a so-called Scheduled Tribe. This status would make them eligible for reserved quotas in government jobs and colleges. In addition, it would provide meitei with access to forest land.

However, other tribes have expressed their concern that they may lose control of their lands in the highlands of the state. It was pointed out here that Meitei, even without state preferences, make up the majority of the state’s residents and do not need new benefits. The tribal student union of Manipur staged protests in Churachandpur.

The protest ended in clashes. Riots broke out throughout the state and escalated into pogroms. Crowds of people burned houses and cars.

The local press believes that at least 54 people died and about 10 thousand more people were forced to leave their homes and flee for fear of rioters. At the same time, both sides accuse each other of provoking riots.

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