Army On Guard After Fresh Flare-Up In Manipur’s Imphal, Curfew Back

Manipur: Curfew was declared after reports of arson came from state capital Imphal.


Security forces were rushed to a pocket of Manipur capital Imphal as fresh clashes broke out again this afternoon after days of fragile peace. A section of Meitei and Kuki communities of New Checkon locality of state capital Imphal had clashed, according to police sources. The clashes had started over space in a local market.

Curfew, which had earlier been relaxed till 4 pm in Imphal, was reimposed after 1 pm after the latest flare-up.

Manipur has been witness to ethnic clashes connected to multiple issues for almost a month.

Early this month, clashes had broken out in the hill state after Kuki tribals organised a solidarity march on May 3 to protest against the Meiteis’ demand for Scheduled Tribe status. More than 70 people died in the violence that had simmered for over a week. Property worth crores was torched and thousands were forced to leave their homes to seek safety in government-organised camps.

The clashes were preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which led to a series of smaller agitations.

Though Meities comprise 64 per cent of the state’s population, they occupy 10 per cent of the state’s territory as non-tribals are not allowed to buy land in notified hill areas. Their inclusion in the ST category will enable them to purchase land in the hills – a possibility that has hugely upset the tribals.

The Kukis allege that the state’s BJP government led by Chief Minister N Biren Singh has been targeting them systematically, aiming to remove them from the forests and their homes in the hills. The war on drugs too, was a ruse for eviction, they have alleged.

The army and paramilitary forces have been camping in the state, organising regular patrols and helping civilians.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured of action against those involved in the violence, and met with representatives of both communities.

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