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Ethnic violence in the Indian state of Manipur has left more than 50 people dead, hundreds hospitalized, and over 23,000 displaced.
Ethnic violence in the Indian state of Manipur has left more than 50 people dead, hundreds hospitalized, and over 23,000 displaced, as reported by hospital officials and the Indian army. The conflict between the Kuki and Meitei ethnic groups began earlier this week and has resulted in severe injuries, buildings set on fire, and widespread destruction.
The Impact of Ethnic Violence
According to hospital officials in the city of Imphal, at least 55 people have lost their lives, and over 260 have been hospitalized since the outbreak of violence. The most common injuries reported are gunshot wounds and head injuries caused by sticks. Hospital officials at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences, and Churachandpur District Hospital have witnessed patients with severe bullet injuries or head injuries from sticks.
The violence has also resulted in more than 23,000 people being displaced from their homes. The Indian army has set up camps and garrisons to provide shelter and basic necessities for the displaced population. The conflict has caused significant damage to property and infrastructure, with buildings and vehicles being set on fire, as seen in local TV broadcasts.
The Cause of Ethnic Violence in Manipur
The conflict between the Kuki and Meitei ethnic groups began after thousands of tribal people participated in a rally organized by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur against the potential inclusion of the state’s majority Meitei ethnic group in India’s “Scheduled Tribe” grouping. The Meitei community, which comprises about 50% of the state’s population, have campaigned for years to be recognized as a scheduled tribe, which would grant them access to a range of benefits, including health, education, and government jobs.
Scheduled tribes are among the most socio-economically disadvantaged groups in India, historically deprived of access to education and job opportunities. However, if the Meitei community is granted scheduled tribe status, other tribal groups fear they will be excluded from job opportunities and other benefits.
Response to Ethnic Violence
The Indian military has been deployed to the streets of Imphal and has instituted a five-day mobile internet blackout to restore calm to the situation. The state governor, Anusuiya Uikey, has issued “shoot-at-sight” orders in extreme cases where all forms of persuasion, warning, and reasonable force have been exhausted, and the situation cannot be controlled. The orders are intended to bring the situation under control and curb the ongoing violence.
The Indian army and Assam Rifles have been working tirelessly for the past 96 hours to rescue civilians across all communities, curb violence, and restore normalcy. Drones and helicopters have been deployed to enhance surveillance efforts. Despite these efforts, the conflict has resulted in significant loss of life and displacement, with many civilians still in danger.
Ethnic violence in Manipur has caused significant damage to property and infrastructure, resulted in loss of life and displacement, and posed a threat to the safety and security of civilians. It is essential for all parties involved to come together to find a peaceful solution to the conflict and avoid further loss of life and damage to property. The Indian government should take urgent steps to provide assistance and support to those affected by the violence and work towards resolving the root causes of the conflict.