A curfew was reimposed in Manipur capital Imphal on Monday after members of Meitei and Kuki communities came to blows in the New Checkon area. Reports said Army and paramilitary forces have been rushed to the city to maintain law and order.
The state has witnessed widespread violence and arson after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals—Nagas and Kukis—constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.
The Meitei community has been demanding implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur to weed out “illegal immigrants”, and cancelation of the suspension of operations (SoO) agreement signed with various Kuki militant groups.
The ethnic clashes claimed over 70 lives and some 10,000 army and para-military personnel had to be deployed to restore normalcy in the northeastern state.