3 people killed, houses set ablaze in fresh violence in India’s Manipur state

Published August 5, 2023
People take part in a mass rally in Meitei dominated Imphal, amidst the conflict with Kuki tribals in the remote northeastern state of Manipur, India, July 29, 2023. — Reuters
People take part in a mass rally in Meitei dominated Imphal, amidst the conflict with Kuki tribals in the remote northeastern state of Manipur, India, July 29, 2023. — Reuters

Three people were killed and houses set ablaze in fresh violence in India’s Manipur, police officials said late on Friday, as sporadic violence and killings continue in the remote northeastern state.

The three people killed belonged to the majority Metei community in the state’s Bishnupur district, a police spokesperson said.

The months-long outbreak of violence began on May 3 after a court ordered the state to consider extending to the majority Meitei population special economic benefits and quotas in government jobs and education that up to now have been reserved for the tribal Kuki people.

A spokesperson for a Kuki civil society group said it did not have an immediate comment on the latest killings.

Over 180 people have been killed and thousands have fled their homes, since the violence started in Manipur, a state of 3.2 million that borders Myanmar.

On May 3, members of the hill tribes including Kuki launched a protest against the possible extension of their benefits to the dominant Meiteis.

Meiteis account for half of Manipur’s population and extending limited affirmative action quotas to them would mean they would get a share in education and government jobs reserved for Kukis and others.

Manipur shares a nearly 400-km border with Myanmar and a coup there in 2021 pushed thousands of refugees into the Indian state.

Kukis share ethnic lineage with Myanmar’s Chin community and Meiteis feared they would be outnumbered by the arrival of the refugees.

Civil society organisations from the Meitei and Kuki communities said hundreds of people from their communities were injured and homeless.

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