2023–2024 Manipur violence

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On 3 May 2023, ethnic violence erupted in India's north-eastern state of Manipur between the Meitei people, a majority that lives in the Imphal Valley, and the Kuki-Zo tribal community from the surrounding hills.[47] According to government figures, as of 3 May 2024, 221 people have been killed in the violence and 60,000 people have been displaced.[36][37] Earlier figures also mentioned over 1,000 injured, and 32 missing. 4,786 houses were burnt and 386 religious structures were vandalized, including temples and churches.[42] Unofficial figures are higher.[48][40]

2023 Manipur violence
Date3 May 2023 – present
(1 year, 1 month, 3 weeks and 2 days)
Location
24°36′N 93°48′E / 24.6°N 93.8°E / 24.6; 93.8
Caused by
MethodsArson (including churches and temples)[22][23][24][25]
Vandalism (including homes, temples and churches),[26]
Rioting,
Murder[27] (including lynching),[28][29]
Mutilation[30][31]
Plundering[32][33]
Mass rape[34][35]
Parties
Casualties
Death(s)official – 221 (3 May 2024)[36][37]
earlier - 175 (14 September 2023)[38]
(98 Kuki-Zo, 67 Meitei, 6 unidentified, 6 security personnel)[39]
unofficial – 181 (29 July 2023)[40][41]
(113 Kuki-Zo, 62 Meitei)[40][41]
Injuries1,108[42]
Damage60,000+ displaced[43]
~400 churches damaged or destroyed[44][45][46]
17 temples vandalized
2023–2024 Manipur violence is located in India
2023–2024 Manipur violence
Location within India

The proximate cause of the violence was a row over an affirmative action measure. On 14 April 2023, acting on a writ petition, the Manipur High Court ordered the state government to send a recommendation to the central government on the demand for a Scheduled Tribe status by the valley-based Meitei community,[49] a decision later criticised by the Supreme Court.[50] To protest the Meitei demands for the scheduled tribe status, the All Tribal Students' Union Manipur conducted peaceful protest marches on 3 May. After one of these marches, clashes broke out between Kuki and Meitei groups near the border between the Churachandpur district and Bishnupur district, followed by house burning.[51][52] The violence quickly spread to the Kuki-dominated Churachandpur town and the Meitei-dominated Imphal Valley, targeting the minority community in each area. According to Reuters, 77 Kukis and 10 Meiteis were killed within a week.[40]

In addition to the ST status, other issues had been festering prior to the violence. For example, the Kuki people in the hill districts saw themselves as being the target of the state government's treatment of indigenous land rights concerns.[53] There have been evictions of Kuki communities as a result of efforts to survey forests, which were ostensibly made to stop the cultivation of poppy.[54][55][56][clarification needed]

The Meitei community has also experienced a rise in insecurity as a result of the flood of refugees from Myanmar following the military coup in 2021, particularly those from the Sagaing region.[57][55] In one of the instances, the Manipur government have questioned the central security forces, especially the Assam Rifles, of allowing illegal immigration from Myanmar.[58][59][60] Many organisations have protested against Assam Rifles of siding with the Kuki communities, including instance of Manipur police filing FIR against its personnel for enabling Kuki militants to escape by obstructing the police movements.[61][62]

According to several organisations, there have been accounts of partisan killings by security forces, as well as allegations of the police siding with the Meitei community.[63][64]

Background

 
The districts of Manipur as of 2011. Some of the subdivisions have since become independent districts. The districts in the middle, the Imphal valley: Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishnupur densely populated and dominated by the Meitei people, whereas the outer districts are primarily hilly, sparsely populated and dominated by non-Meitei peoples. The people in the valley are predominantly Hindu and those in the Hills are primarily Christians.
 
The hills and valley districts have very different Scheduled Caste (CS) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) population compositions according to the 2011 Census figures. The "Others" category include the general category as well as Other Backward Class (OBC) and Economically Weaker Section (EWS) categories.
 
The hills and valley districts have very different religious compositions too compositions according to the 2011 Census figures. The data for Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, and "unstated" are not shown since they are less than 1% in both the hills and valley districts. The "Some Others" category include other religions, as well as uncategorised religion such as Sanamahism.

Manipur is a state in northeast India, bordering Myanmar to its east and south. It consists of the Imphal Valley, associated with the Manipur kingdom,[65] and the surrounding hills populated by hill tribes. The Imphal Valley constitutes about 10% of the geographical area of the state with 57% of the population,[66] predominantly Meitei, who are majority Hindus, with minorities of Muslims and native Sanamahism followers.[67] The surrounding hills constitute 90% of the geographical area of the state with 43% of the population belonging to 34 tribal groups broadly categorized as Nagas and Kukis.[67] The Nagas dominate the northern districts while the Kukis are predominant in the south. The tribal people have the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, whereas the Meitei have been accorded Other Backward Class (OBC) status, with some classified as Scheduled Castes (SC) in certain areas.[68]

Scholars write that the hill tribes, whose administration had largely been left to the respective chiefs known as Khullakpa by the Meitei Kings, came to be administered by the British after the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891. The British administrative control became more intensive after the Kuki Rebellion of 1917–19 and they continued to administer the hill areas directly until 1947.[69][70][71] Scholars believe the colonial administration employed the "divide and rule" policy which widened existing divide between the peoples.[70][71][72] On the contrary, the hill regions are noted by some scholars as forming part of Zomia inhabited by "non-state" peoples. They came to be administered only after the Kuki Rebellion of 1917–1919,[73] After Indian independence, the hill tribes continued to enjoy a protected status. Even though the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960, prohibits transfer of tribal land to non-tribals except by special permission,[74][75] the seventh amendment (2015) is seen as an attempt by the valley dwellers to grab tribal land.[76] The valley-based Meitei dominate the political establishment. Of the 60 Assembly constituencies, 40 are held by the valley and 20 are in the hill districts.[67][53] The tribal population is not prohibited from settling in the valley region.[77][78][47] Kukis state that they do not want to come to the valley but they have to since there are no roads, schools or hospitals in the hills.[79]

Tribal groups have complained that the government spending is unduly concentrated in the Meitei-dominated Imphal Valley.[80]

Scheduled Tribe status for Meitei

The Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) began demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the Meitei people in 2012.[81] The STDCM claims the status will restore the harmonious relationship between the valley and the hills peoples before the Manipur's merger with India in 1949.[82] On the other hand, the hills people view this demand as an attempt to reduce the effectiveness of the Naga and Kuki demands, and enable the Meitei to make inroads into the hill regions.[83]

It was reported later that the Union government and the state government had considered the issue of ST status for Meitei twice, once in 1982 and a second time in 2001, and rejected it both times. This fact was not publicised at the beginning of the conflict.[84]

Political background

Okram Ibobi Singh of the Indian National Congress (INC) had been in power for three terms from 2002. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2017 for the first time under the leadership of N. Biren Singh who managed to out-maneuver the INC, the single largest party, and formed a minority government. In the 2022 Manipur Legislative Assembly election, Biren Singh led the BJP to a clear majority increasing the seat tally from 21 (2017) to 32 (2022) in an Assembly of 60 and continued as the Chief Minister.[85] The rise of BJP power in Manipur has empowered the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to incite the Vaishnavite Meitei to assert Hindutva politics against religious minorities.[86] This included giving rise to Meitei-based organisations[87] and increased vigilantism, cultural policing, and anti-minority rhetoric.[88]

Refugees from Myanmar

The renewed outbreak of civil war in Myanmar in neighbouring Chin state has also been claimed to be a reason for the violence in Manipur.[15] Fighting in the Chin theater has caused an influx of refugees in the states of Manipur and Mizoram. As of May 2023, according to the chief minister, 2,000 refugees had entered Manipur and were housed in shelters.[89] Other estimates put the number between 5,000 and 10,000. Rumours have circulated that Chin refugees are receiving assistance from Kuki villagers and are helping to enhance the "political clout" of the Kukis.[90] This has caused the Meiteis to brand all Kukis as "illegal immigrants".[91] Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah stated that the influx of Kuki people from Myanmar created insecurity amongst the Meitei people of Manipur and triggered the violence.[92]

International factors

China perceives that India's Act East Policy, and closer relations with Southeast Asian nations pose a serious threat to its ambition to establish its hegemony in the region.[93][94][95][96] On 15th August 2023, Chief Minister of Manipur, N Biren Singh said that certain misunderstandings, actions of vested interests and foreign conspiracies to destabilise the state led to widespread violence in Manipur.[97][98][99]

Antecedents

 
Map of the religious distribution in Manipur.
Meitei Hindus (orange) and Meitei-Pangal Muslims (green) are predominant in the dense urban valley region, whereas Christians (blue) predominate in the sparsely populated tribal hilly regions

On 7 November 2022, the Government of Manipur passed an order setting aside previous orders from the 1970s and 1980s that excluded villages from proposed Churachandpur-Khoupum protected forest, which automatically placed 38 ancestral villages in Churachandpur in the encroaching category.[100] In February 2023, the BJP state government began an eviction drive in districts of Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Tengnoupal, declaring the forest dwellers as encroachers—a move seen as anti-tribal.[101][102]

In March, the Manipur Cabinet decided to withdraw from the Suspension of Operation agreements with three Kuki militant groups, including the Kuki National Army and the Zomi Revolutionary Army, though the central government did not support such a withdrawal.[102][103][a] Several Manipuri organisations also demonstrated in New Delhi to press for a National Register of Citizens (NRC) to be created with 1951 as the base year, complaining of abnormal population growth in hill areas.[104] The first violence broke out as five people were injured in a clash in the Kangpokpi district, where protesters gathered to hold a rally against "encroachment of tribal land in the name of reserved forests, protected forests and wildlife sanctuary".[103] While, the state cabinet stated that the government will not compromise on "steps taken to protect the state government's forest resources and for eradicating poppy cultivation".[103] Social scientists, such as Dhanabir Laishram, have argued that targeting those poor Kuki cultivators alone would be futile. A rich section of the Meitei community is blamed to be one of the major funders.[105] On 11 April, three churches in Imphal's Tribal Colony locality were razed for being illegal constructions on government land.[103]

On 20 April 2023, a judge of the Manipur High Court directed the state government to "consider request of the Meitei community to be included in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list."[106] The Kukis feared that the ST status would allow the Meiteis purchase land in the prohibited hilly areas.[104]

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) called for a total shut down on 28 April in protest of the state government actions, a day that also happened to have been scheduled for the chief minister N. Biren Singh to visit Churachandpur for the inauguration of an open air gym. The day before the visit, a mob set fire to the gym and vandalised it. The ITLF claimed that it started the agitation as the state government was not addressing the plight of the people.[107][108] Section 144 was invoked on 28 April as well as a five-day Internet shut down. The protesters clashed with the police and tear gas shells were used to disperse the mobs.[107]

What has been said, openly, including by Chief Minister Biren Singh, is that too many “foreign” (Myanmar Kukis) are involved, there is foreign (Chinese, he insinuated) hand, and that the Kuki tribals are forest encroachers, illicit poppy growers, drug smugglers and terrorists. “Terrorist” is an expression he has used for them more than once and it has been widely reported in the national broadsheets.[109]

Overview

Initial riots

Villages at the Churachandpur-Bishnupur district border

On 3 May, the tribal organisation All Tribal Student Union Manipur (ATSUM), opposing the Meitei demand for ST status, conducted a "Tribal Solidarity March". Tens of thousands of protesters participated in the march across all hill districts of Manipur.[107][104] According to the Union Home Ministry, the call for the march also generated a "counter response" by the Meitei.[110] Reports were received of a counter-blockade at Torbung near the BishnupurChurachandpur district border,[111][112][113] and a counter-agitation in the surrounding valley areas (such as the Kangvai village), where houses were attacked by Meitei mobs.[114][115][116] Two dead bodies were discovered in the Kangvai village and tyres were burnt at the base of the Anglo-Kuki War Memorial gate at Leisang as an apparent provocation.[117][118][119]

After the reportedly peaceful rally in the Churachandpur town in which 100,000 people participated,[120][110] rallyists returning to the Torbung–Kangvai area[b] faced the "counter-blockade" by the Meitei groups. This resulted in stone-throwing and arson of vehicles and properties. The Kangvai village in the Bishnupur district was burnt down.[111][118] These events caused a large number of Kuki-Zo people from Churachandpur side to rush to the clash site and participate in the clashes, including the burning of the Bangla village in Churachandpur district.[122][c] About 80 people were injured in the violence who were taken to the Churachandpur District Hospital, of which three people died by the next morning.[124]

By the evening, clashes spread to the Churachandpur town, where Meitei settlements were attacked, and the Imphal City, where Kuki-Zo settlements were attacked. Violence continued through the night of 3 May. Residences and churches of the Kuki tribal population were attacked in the valley areas.[78][47] According to the police, many houses of the tribal population in Imphal were attacked and 500 occupants were displaced and had to take shelter in Lamphelpat. Around 1000 Meiteis affected by the violence also had to flee from the region and take shelter in Bishnupur. Twenty houses were burnt in the city of Kangpokpi.[125] Violence was observed in Churachandpur, Kakching, Canchipur, Soibam Leikai, Tengnoupal, Langol, Kangpokpi and Moreh while mostly being concentrated in the Imphal Valley during which several houses, places of worship and other properties were burnt and destroyed.[112][125]

On 4 May, fresh cases of violence were reported. The police force had to fire several rounds of tear gas shells to control the rioters.[112] Kuki MLA Vunzjagin Valte (BJP), who is the representative of the tribal headquarters of Churachandpur, was attacked during the riots while he was returning from the state secretariat. His condition was reported to be critical on 5 May, while a person accompanying him died.[126][127] The government said around 1700 houses and numerous vehicles were burned down during the violence.[128][129]

Government response

A curfew was imposed across eight districts, including non-tribal dominated Imphal West, Kakching, Thoubal, Jiribam, and Bishnupur districts, as well as tribal-dominated Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, and Tengnoupal districts.[130]

The Manipur government issued a shoot at sight order on 4 May.[125] By the end of 3 May, 55 columns of the Assam Rifles and the Indian Army were deployed in the region and by 4 May, more than 9,000 people were relocated to safer locations.[77][131][125][132][133] By 5 May, about 20,000 and by 6 May, 23,000 people had been relocated to safe locations under military supervision.[47][134] The central government airlifted 5 companies of the Rapid Action Force to the region.[135] Nearly 10,000 army, paramilitary and Central Armed Police Forces were deployed in Manipur.[136][137] As of 14 May, the total military build up in Manipur stood at 126 army columns and 62 companies of paramilitary forces.[138]

On 4 May, it was widely reported that the Union government had invoked the Article 355 of the Indian Constitution to take over the security situation of Manipur.[139][140][141] However, no notification was issued to this effect.[142][143] Nevertheless, the Home Ministry appointed a security advisor to the Manipur chief minister, Kuldip Singh, who previously headed the CRPF, and an overall commander for the law and order situation, Ashutosh Sinha.[143]

The insertion of troops led to several engagements between hill-based militants and the Indian Reserve Battalion, resulting in at least five militant deaths. In a separate encounter, four militants were killed. By 6 May the situation had calmed down to a degree.[137] According to journalist Moses Lianzachin, at least twenty-seven churches were destroyed or burned down during the violence.[47] As of 9 May, according to the Manipur government, the death toll was over 60 people.[144] The situation was described as "relatively peaceful" on 10 May, with the curfew being relaxed in places,[145] though unknown militants fired on Indian troops in an incident in Manipur's Imphal East district, injuring one.[146]

On 12 May, suspected Kuki militants ambushed policemen in Bishnupur district, killed one officer and injuring five others.[147] In a separate incident, a soldier was stabbed and three Meitei community members kidnapped in Torbung, Churachandpur district.[147] A day later, the security advisor to the Manipur Government Kuldeep Singh raised the total fatality count from the violence to more than 70 deaths. This included the discovery of three Public Works Department labourers found dead in a vehicle in the Churachandpur from unknown causes.[148] He added the number of internally displaced people living in camps had been significantly reduced, and that about 45,000 people had been relocated to other areas.[148]

On 14 May, a delegation of state ministers led by Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh left for New Delhi to meet Union home minister Amit Shah to discuss the situation.[138]

The internet blackout and curfew remained in place on 16 May.[149] Food was also reported to be scarce, with shops, schools and offices closed, and thousands of people stranded in refugee camps. Fresh violence over the weekend had led to further displacements.[149] On 17 May, the internet blackout was extended for five more days.[150]

Recurrent violence

On 14 May, reports of fresh violence surfaced in the Torbung area, with unidentified arsonists torching more property, including houses and trucks. Five companies of Border Security Forces were deployed. In a separate incident, two Assam Rifles personnel were injured.[138]

Fresh violence occurred on 29 May during which at least five people including one policeman was killed.[151]

On 14 June, at least 11 people were shot, including nine Meitei men.[152] Additionally, 14 were injured in a fresh outbreak. According to doctors and other senior management officials at the state's capital, the latest clash has been so extreme that many bodies have been hard to identify.[153]

A 21 year old Kuki youth was arrested for sharing a post against CM Biren Singh on social media. He was beaten to death on a street in Imphal when he was supposed to be in police custody.[154]

Warring groups

Both Meitei civil society organisations, Arambai Tenggol, Meitei Leepun and Kuki militants under SoO agreement with the government were repeatedly mentioned as being involved in this ongoing violence as attackers of each other's villages. [155][156][157][158][159][160][161] Surrendered cadres of Meitei insurgent groups, officially called "Valley-based Insurgent Groups" (VBIGs), are believed to have trained them in using arms looted from state armouries.[162] In one instance, a fierce gunfight was reported between militants operating under the Arambai Tenggol banner, and a unit of Assam Rifles.[163] On 26 May, Arambai Tenggol issued an announcement stating it was "dissolving itself".[164] But its cadres were spotted at Pallel in September, dressed in police commando uniforms, attempting to break through security check posts. Some of them also fired on the security forces, resulting in gunshot injuries to an Army major.[165]

Secessionist Meitei insurgent groups,[d] having previously escaped to Myanmar due to Indian counter-insurgency operations, are believed to have returned to Manipur in the midst of violence and begun to conduct operations against the Kuki-Zo villages.[162] In September, one militant was arrested, along with four other civilians, for travelling with illegal arms wearing police uniforms. After the court granted him bail, he was rearrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and taken to Delhi. Subsequently NIA issued a public warning stating that Myanmar-based insurgent groups were organising to wage a war against India by exploiting the ethnic clashes.[166]

Casualties and victims

Reuters reported that, during the first week of violence, 77 Kukis and 10 Meiteis were killed.[40] The majority of the Kuki deaths were caused by murderous Meitei mobs, who roamed the streets of the Imphal city and other locales in the valley, attacking people in their homes and on the streets.[167][168] By 14 May, the government's tally of casualties and property damage from the violence stood at 73 dead, 243 injured, 1809 houses burned down, 46,145 people evacuated, 26,358 people taken to 178 relief camps, 3,124 people escorted evacuation flights, and 385 criminal cases registered with the authorities.[138]

On July 19, a video went viral showing two Kuki women, one aged in her forties and another in her twenties, being stripped, paraded naked on the streets, slapped and sexually assaulted by presumably Meitei men.[169][170][171][172] The women were forcibly taken away from the police station when they were fleeing mob violence.[173] The younger victim was allegedly gang-raped and one of the victims' father and teenage brother were killed by the mob while trying to protect the victim. Despite the complaint being lodged no action was taken by the police for more than 2 months until the video emerged.[174] The Kuki community have accused the police of siding with the Meitei community.[175] The video emerged after more than two months since the incident took place as internet was shutdown in Manipur.[169][176][171][177] One of the victims said that they have been “left to the mob by the police”.[176][177] On July 20, Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh defended his decision to curtail Internet access in the state, citing hundreds of similar incidents occurring in the past.[178] The Union government ordered social media platforms to remove all posts showing the viral video.[179] Seven arrests were made in the case, all of them after the viral video surfaced.[180]

The Supreme Court responded within hours after the circulation of the video, warning that the court will intervene if the government fails to act.[181]

After the media reports circulated about the National Commission of Women (NCW) having knowledge of the incident as they received a complaint in the month of June, the chairperson of NCW said that she did not receive a response from authorities in Manipur, even after she forwarded the complaint thrice.[182][183]

The CBI took over the case on 29 July.[184] On 1 August, the Supreme Court stopped CBI from recording the two women's statements which was scheduled just two hours before the Supreme Court hearing on the case, due to objections by the women.[185][186]

The home of Babloo Loitongbam, human rights activist and director of Human Rights Alert, was vandalised on 5 October 2023 for his activism. The radical Meitei organisation, Meitei Leepun, issued a "boycott call" to Loitongbam.[187][188] The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said "We are alarmed by threats to human rights defender Babloo Loitongbam by Meitei Leepun and Arambai Tenggol groups in Manipur for speaking out on communal violence since May. We urge authorities to protect him, his family and home, and hold perpetrators accountable".[189]

Supreme Court proceedings

On 31 July, the Supreme Court asked Manipur government to provide complete break-up of around 6000 FIRs related to the violence in the state. The court also expressed shock after learning that it took 14 days for the police to register even a zero FIR in the case of two women being paraded naked by a mob and were assaulted sexually in public.[190] During the hearing on 1 August, the Supreme Court called the police investigations as "tardy", and said that the state underwent "absolute breakdown of the constitutional machinery".[191]

On 7 August 2023, the Supreme Court took suo moto cognisance and formed a committee consisting of retired Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice Gita Mittal (who will lead the committee), former Bombay High Court judge Justice Shalini Phansaklar Joshi and former Delhi High Court judge Asha Menon to look into relief and rehabilitation, and appointed former Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar to oversee the probe.[192]

Reactions

The Chief Minister of Manipur, N. Biren Singh, stated that the riots were instigated by “prevailing misunderstanding between two communities” and appealed for restoration of normality.[193]

Shashi Tharoor, a Member of Parliament, called for President's rule and blamed the BJP-led government, saying it has failed to govern the state.[194]

Peter Machado, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bangalore, expressed concern that the Christian community is being made to feel insecure, adding that "seventeen churches are either vandalised, desecrated or defiled."[195]

Olympic medallist Mary Kom, a native of Manipur, tweeted an appeal seeking help for her home state.[196] The Union Government Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah cancelled his campaign programs for the Karnataka election and held meetings with Biren Singh monitoring the situation in Manipur.[197]

A BJP MLA, Dinganglung Gangmei, petitioned the Supreme Court of India against the High Court's recommendation to the state government to add Meitei people to the Scheduled Tribes list.[198][199][200]

On 12 May 2023, all 10 Kuki MLAs, including eight from the Bharatiya Janata Party, issued a statement demanding a separate body be created to administer their community under the constitution of India in the wake of the violent ethnic clashes.[201] They alleged that the violence had been “tacitly supported” by the BJP-run state government, and that living under a Meitei-majority administration after the violence would be “as good as death” for their community.[201] Five organisations of tribal students of Manipur in New Delhi also demanded a probe into the alleged involvement of two radical Meitei groups, Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun in the violence.[202]

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a statement that the violence in Manipur "revealed the underlying tensions between different ethnic and indigenous groups". He urged the authorities to "respond to the situation quickly, including by investigating and addressing root causes of the violence in line with their international human rights obligations".[203]

On 29 May, hundreds of women from Kuki, Mizo, and Zomi tribes staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, demanding intervention by the central government to end communal tensions in Manipur. The women waved national flags and held posters declaring themselves as Indians, not immigrants, while criticising the state government stirring tensions by evicting of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land.[204]

On 30 May 2023, eleven international and national award-winning sportspersons from the state said that they will return their awards if the territorial integrity of the state is compromised. The sportspersons said that if the government does not meet their demands, they will not represent India and will not help in training new talent.[205]

On 1 July 2023, Joseph Pamplany, Archbishop of Thalassery in Kerala, said the violence is sponsored by the Modi government to destroy Christian communities in Manipur.[206]

On 14 July 2023, the BJP's vice-president from the state of Mizoram, R. Vanramchhuanga, resigned from his post accusing BJP governments in the centre and the state of supporting demolition of churches.[207]

On 20 July 2023, Modi broke his months-long silence after a video of two women being paraded naked and subjected to blatant acts of sexual assault by a group of men went viral. He said the incident shamed India and that no guilty will be spared.[208] Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticized for being silent on the violence for almost three months, for not visiting the state and for avoiding the broader situation in his statement after a video showing two women being paraded naked went viral.[209][210]

On 27 July 2023, the BJP's Bihar wing leader, Vinod Sharma, resigned alleging that the violence in the state has defamed the country.[211]

On 7 August 2023, Kuki People's Alliance withdrew their support to the BJP government of the state led by N. Biren Singh.[212]

The parliamentary opposition under the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) tabled a no confidence motion about the crisis on August 10 in order to make Modi address the situation in more detail to parliament. Modi delivered a two hour speech mainly focused on the accomplishments of his government and criticising the opposition for "defaming India" through the vote, to which opposition MLAs walked out. Afterwards, Modi addressed the conflict, stating that "there would soon be peace in Manipur" and that the whole country would get behind resolution efforts. The motion failed as expected due to the overwhelming BJP majority, with it being seen more as a way to force Modi to speak about the matter and showcase the unity and power of the INDIA grouping.[213][214]

Media coverage

Mainstream television channels from India ignored the Manipur conflict for a while, and covered it only after a viral video surfaced showing two naked women being paraded by a mob.[215] However, a team of independent researchers on national media coverage of Manipur Violence argued that "The study finds some discernible patterns in this regard that indicate shortcomings and perceptible biases in the ways in which the crisis in Manipur has been covered by the ‘national’ newspapers" , and it has been found that the Kuki sources are quoted far more than the Meitei sources in the news reports of the mainstream media.[216][217][218] Also, as per "the Wire" major newspapers and broadcast media from Manipur and the rest of India[219] have avoided reporting on violence faced by the Christian-majority Kukis, while highlighting violence by Kuki militants. It is argued that three of the most read English newspapers in the region did not even report on the incident of a mob burning a woman and a boy alive.[citation needed] The Sangai Express referred to Kukis by the adjective "aliens" in an editorial, while an editorial in the Imphal Free Press justified the villagers looting arms from the security forces in the state.[220]

On 21 July, ANI incorrectly reported that a Muslim man has been arrested in connection to the incident in which two naked women were seen paraded forcibly by a mob in a viral video. ANI later apologized for the tweet, saying that it was based on an erroneous reading of previously published tweets by Manipur Police.[221]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Suspension of Operations agreement is a tripartite agreement between the central government, the state government and 25 Kuki militant groups. The state government's withdrawal is unlikely to have had any effect on the ground without the central government support.
  2. ^ Torbung and Kangvai are villages near the border between the Churachandpur district and the Bishnupur district. They contain both Meitei and Kuki settlements, with overlapping jurisdictions of the two districts.[121]
  3. ^ The Bangla village (also called Torbung Bangla) is in the Churachandpur district, and Torbung and Kangvai are in the Bishnupur district according to the best available information. But the border between the two districts is considered to be fluid, with Meitei and Kuki settlements on both the sides of the border and each community claiming the villages to be in the opposite district. The Manipur government has added to the confusion by its land administration policies.[121][123]
  4. ^ Eight major insurgent organisations of Manipur are People's Liberation Army of Manipur (PLA) and its political wing Revolutionary People's Front (RPF), United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and its armed wing Manipur People's Army (MPA), People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) and its armed wing the Red Army, Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) and its armed wing also called the Red Army, Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), Coordination Committee (Cor-Com), Alliance for Socialist Unity Kangleipak (ASUK) and Manipur People's Liberation Front (MPLF).[166]

References

  1. ^ Haokip, Seikhogin (2016), "Autonomy Demands in the Hill Areas of Manipur: Issues and Challenges" (PDF), Journal of North East India Studies, 6 (2): 40, ISSN 2277-6869, Thus, the standpoint of the dominant valley-based Meitei community on the 'territorial integrity' of Manipur remains a major challenge to the demands for 'Greater Nagalim', separate 'Kuki State', and extension of the Sixth Schedule in the hill areas of Manipur.
  2. ^ Haoginlen Chongloi (18 June 2022), "Free-Flowing Hate Speech, Rampant Racial Profiling: How Manipur Grew Intolerant", The Wire, Highlighting a few instances of involving the Kukis in the recent past, these leaders from the majority community are habituated to generalising the entire Kuki population as refugees and migrants.... What is being noticed is that hate speech, earlier the territory of individuals, was now taking place at the institutional level.
  3. ^ "4 months on, how Meitei-Kuki conflict has kept Manipur on the boil". The Indian Express. 26 September 2023. Intermittent violence — emerging from an ethnic conflict between Meitei and Kuki communities
  4. ^ "Why ethnic violence in India's Manipur has been going on for three months". Al Jazeera. The state has fractured on ethnic lines, with rival Meitei and Kuki-Zo militias setting up blockades to keep out members of the opposing community.
  5. ^ Sushant Singh (1 August 2023), "Manipur Crisis Tests Modi's India", Foreign Policy, Spiraling violence in the northeastern state takes cues from the ruling party's majoritarianism.
  6. ^ Arunabh Saikia (2 September 2023), "The return of Meitei insurgents marks a new turn in Manipur conflict", Scroll.in, Such charges are rooted in the Manipur government's barely-veiled Meitei majoritarian stance that has been on display throughout the conflict... The Manipur commandos, an elite counter-insurgency unit of the state police, in particular, has been widely charged with siding with Meitei mobs.
  7. ^ Greeshma Kuthar (31 July 2023), "Fire and Blood: How the BJP is enabling ethnic cleansing in Manipur", The Caravan, ... the [High Court] order came amid an escalation in the Biren Singh government's concerted campaign to stir up majoritarian sentiments against Kukis, using the same tactics it had employed against the Pangals. The scale of this campaign, however, is exponentially higher.
  8. ^ Syed Firdaus Ashraf (18 May 2023), "'Biren Singh's BJP government is playing with fire in Manipur' (interview of Kham Khan Suan Hausing)", Rediff News, Biren Singh may have found these militant organisations very useful to aggressively push his integrationist and majoritarian agenda and conveniently use this to electorally consolidate his position by neutralising intermittent challenges from powerful factional leaders within the BJP.
  9. ^ Jagdish Rattanani (21 June 2023), "Playing with fire in Manipur: The wages of majoritarianism", Deccan Herald '"In the present scenario," the civil society groups put it, "the worst of the violence against the Kukis has been perpetuated by armed Meitei majoritarian groups...accompanied by genocidal hate-speech and supremacist displays of impunity."'
  10. ^ Ravi Agarwal, Inside Manipur’s Ethnic Violence, Foreign Policy, 17 August 2023. "While this is not a Hindu-versus-Christian conflict, there are definite religious undertones, which certainly have consequences in today’s India."
  11. ^ Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindutva Is A 'Friend' That Manipur's Meiteis Would Be Better Without, Outlook, 24 July 2023. "Soon after the beginning of the conflict on May 3 started a flood of social media posts targeting Kukis as 'Christian terrorists'. While tweets from handles belonging to Meiteis mostly blamed 'Kuki terrorists' or 'Kuki militants' or 'Kuki drug mafias' and 'Kuki narco terrorists', the profiles belonging to Hindutva activists, operated mostly by people outside Manipur, started vilifying 'Kuki Christian terrorists'."
  12. ^ Manipur: why is there conflict and how is the government responding?, The Guardian, 21 July 2023. "As the clashes spread, villages were burned down and more than 250 churches belonging to the Kuki community, who are Christian, were destroyed.... Some allege that the Hindu nationalist Modi government is not stepping in to protect the Kukis, who are Christian, from the Meitei, who are Hindu."
  13. ^ Unpacking the ethnic violence in Manipur: The impact of social media and newly formed civil societies, India Today NE, 6 June 2023. 'There have also been reports of Arambai Tenggol burning churches and forcing Meitei Christians to renounce their faith. In a post made by the Facebook page Meitei/Meetei Christian on May 6 accused the group of attacking Meitei Christians, quoting, “As per our knowledge, we know all the Meitei Christian churches are demolished. And now Arambai Tenggol is forcing to renounce their Christian faith among the Meitei Christians.”'
  14. ^ "Violence Against Tribal Christians in Manipur, India". United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, US Government.
  15. ^ a b Gupta, Anant; Mehrotra, Karishma (26 May 2023). "India's northeast racked by ethnic unrest partly fueled by Myanmar crisis". Washington Post. "Since the coup, this recent violence is the first time where we see that a large number of refugees have come in and created internal problems," said Gopal Krishna Pillai, a former home secretary and joint secretary in charge of India's whole northeast, echoing the official line that the refugees are to blame for the unrest.... But some observers maintain that the government is scapegoating the tribal peoples. "Now, it is easier to target the Kukis as illegal immigrants," said Angshuman Choudhury, an expert on the region at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research.
  16. ^ "Govt: Manipur violence due to crackdown on illegal migrants". The Times of India. 18 May 2023. The Centre and Manipur government told the Supreme Court that the genesis of ethnic violence in the state was the crackdown on illegal Myanmar migrants' illicit poppy cultivation and drug business in the hill districts...
  17. ^ a b Debarshi Dasgupta (6 August 2023). "Unrest in Myanmar linked to ongoing ethnic strife in India's Manipur state". The Straits Times. Manipur's Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader N. Biren Singh, a Meitei, has blamed illegal migrants and drug lords from Myanmar for the lingering violence, claiming such forces were trying to "destabilise the state".
  18. ^ "Manipur violence: What is happening and why". BBC News. 20 July 2023. [There] are myriad underlying reasons. The Kukis say a war on drugs waged by the Meitei-led government is a screen to uproot their communities. Illegal migration from Myanmar has heightened tensions. There is pressure on land use from a growing population and unemployment has pushed youth towards the various militias.
  19. ^ "Drugs, land rights, tribal identity and illegal immigration-Why Manipur is burning". India Today NE. 5 May 2023. Fuelling this conflict are also allegations of illegal immigration. In March, leaders of several students' organisations representing the Meitei community protested outside Biren Singh's home, alleging that "illegal immigrants from Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh" were marginalising "the indigenous people of Manipur". They demanded the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the setting up of a population commission.
  20. ^ Sumir Karmakar (15 May 2023), "Role of Myanmar-based drug lords, 'illegal immigrants' suspected in Manipur violence", Deccan Herald, Amid a high level inquiry into the ongoing Kuki-Meitei clashes in Manipur, the BJP government in the state is increasingly pushing its claim that Myanmar-based drug lords and 'illegal immigrants' from the neighbouring country were behind the violence...
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  28. ^ Rakhi Bose (20 May 2023). "Manipur Violence: Lynchings, Villages Burnt, Lives Disrupted. But Where Was The State?". Outlook.
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  31. ^ "Manipur: More Horrific Cases Of Beheading And Assault Of Women Surface". Outlook. 22 July 2023.
  32. ^ "3,000 weapons looted in second wave of Manipur violence, 144 recovered so far". The Indian Express. 3 June 2023.
  33. ^ "Looting unabated in Manipur dists". The Times of India. 12 May 2023.
  34. ^ "More cases of women being assaulted surface in Manipur". The Hindu. 21 July 2023.
  35. ^ "18-year-old gang-raped in Manipur after women vigilantes hand her over to armed men". The Hindu. 22 July 2023.
  36. ^ a b Manipur groups mark one year of conflict with cry for peace, justice, The Hindu, 3 May 2024.
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  39. ^ Vijaita Singh, Abhinay Lakshman, Supreme Court panel submits report on Manipur victims, The Hindu, 28 November 2023.
  40. ^ a b c d e Krishn Kaushik, Bunkers, sniper rifles: Deepening sectarian war in India dents Modi's image, Reuters, 28 July 2023.
  41. ^ a b "Manipur: Bearing brunt of violence, Kukis make up two-thirds of the victims, says Reuters analysis". The Telegraph (Kolkata). 29 July 2023.
  42. ^ a b PTI (15 September 2023). "175 killed, over 1,100 injured in four months of Manipur violence: police". The Hindu.
  43. ^ Aakash Hassan; Hannah Ellis-Petersen (10 July 2023), "'Foreigners on our own land': ethnic clashes threaten to push India's Manipur state into civil war", The Guardian
  44. ^ "India's Manipur still tense after 400 churches burned and 60 Christians killed | Human Rights Without Frontiers". hrwf.eu. 22 May 2023.
  45. ^ "Hundreds of Houses of Worship Destroyed in Manipur, India". International Christian Concern. 16 June 2023.
  46. ^ Katey Hearth. "Over 300 churches destroyed by Manipur mobs".
  47. ^ a b c d e Dhillon, Amrit (5 May 2023). "Indian troops ordered to 'shoot on sight' amid violence in Manipur". The Guardian.
  48. ^ Yaqut Ali (9 September 2023). "The Manipur Crisis in Numbers: Four Months of Unending Violence". The wire. It has been four months since violence erupted between the Kuki and Meitei communities in Manipur, which claimed the lives of around 200 people and left more than 70,000 people displaced.
  49. ^ Sukrita Barua (28 April 2023). "Meitei ST demand in Manipur gets HC boost, touches another raw tribal nerve in NE". The Indian Express.
  50. ^ "SC criticizes Manipur HC order as 'factually wrong' and takes a strong view". mint. 17 May 2023.
  51. ^ Esha Roy (3 May 2023). "Protest against ST demand turns violent in Manipur, curfew imposed in entire state". The Indian Express.
  52. ^ Esha Roy (27 June 2023). "In 10 years of Meitei ST demand, repeated pleas to state, Centre". The Indian Express.
  53. ^ a b Tejas Harad (6 May 2023). "ST Status for Manipur's Meiteis: What is at Stake?". The Quint.
  54. ^ Saikia, Arunabh (13 June 2023). "Why Manipur's civil war is being linked to the narcotics trade". Scroll.in.
  55. ^ a b Binalakshmi Nepram; Brigitta W. Schuchert (2 June 2023). "Understanding India's Manipur Conflict and Its Geopolitical Implications". United States Institute of Peace.
  56. ^ "Poppy cultivation, eviction drives, illegal influx, old scars—why Manipur is burning". India Today. 5 May 2023.
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  59. ^ "700 from Myanmar entered in 2 days, push them back: Manipur to Assam Rifles". India Today. 25 July 2023. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  60. ^ "Assam Rifles to tighten security along India-Myanmar border to stop influx in Mizoram". The Economic Times. 3 May 2023. ISSN 0013-0389. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  61. ^ "Assam Rifles 'gave chance to Kuki militants to escape': Manipur Police FIR". The Indian Express. 8 August 2023. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  62. ^ "Withdraw Assam Rifles from Manipur: BJP leader to PM Modi". The Times of India. 7 June 2023. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  63. ^ "India: Investigate Police Bias Alleged in Manipur Violence". Human Rights Watch. 30 May 2023.
  64. ^ "Manipur Violence: Several Organisations Seek President's Rule Citing Biases In Administration". IndiaTimes. 23 June 2023.
  65. ^ "(T)he Imphal valley was an independent kingdom with rich cultural heritage and a written history dating back to 33 AD. During the British rule the princely kingdom was not included among the Scheduled Districts by the Scheduled District Act of 1874, or categorised as Backward Tracts by the Government of India Act of 1919, and Excluded and Partially Excluded Area by the Government of India Act of 1935. The advanced civilisation and being one of the oldest kingdoms in the northeast frontier may be the deliberate reasons." (Haokip 2015:84)
  66. ^ Golson, Ningthoujam; Singh2, Kh. Pradipkumar (September–December 2018), "Characteristics of Population in the Valley Districts of Manipur, India", National Geographical Journal of India, 64 (3–4){{citation}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  67. ^ a b c Jaideep Saikia (5 May 2023). "Manipur violence: How Christianisation widened socio-cultural gap between Meiteis of Valley and Hill tribes". Firstpost.
  68. ^ Haokip 2015, p. 86, note 9: "There are seven SC communities in Manipur, namely, Loi, Yaithabi, Dhobi, Muchi or Rabidas, Namsudra, Patni and Sutradhar. OBCs of the state include Nepali, Meitei/Meetei (including Meitei Brahmin, Meitei/Meetei Sanamahi, Meitei Pangal and Rajkumar) and Teli.".
  69. ^ Sitlhou 2015, pp. 71–72.
  70. ^ a b Kshetri 2006, pp. 3–5
  71. ^ a b Dena 2014, pp. 60, 75, 82–84
  72. ^ Kamei 2023, p. 80.
  73. ^ "On the other hand, the hill areas of the present-day Manipur had been a free hill country and largely unadministered even during the British rule till the Kuki uprising (1917–19). It is treated as ‘illegible space’ (Scott 2000) and a separate sub-cultural zone within the larger region known as ‘Zomia’ and the people regarded as ‘non-state peoples’ (Scott 2009: 23)." (Haokip 2015:84–85)
  74. ^ Rahul Karmarkar, Belief that Meiteis cannot settle in Manipur's hills is a myth, says leader of Kuki apex body, The Hindu, 21 May 2023.
  75. ^ "The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960" (PDF). indiacode.nic.in. paragraph 158.
  76. ^ "One of the main concerns in the agitation against the three ‘anti-tribal bills’ passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly is the one that has to do with the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960, that is the MLR&LR (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015. The main opposition to this bill is the idea of land grabs by the valley dwellers and the state's hegemony through forceful intrusion to the land resources of the tribal people and infringement of their customary rights (Kipgen 2017: 506)"(Kipgen 2018:112)
  77. ^ a b "Manipur: Curfew in Indian state after protests turn violent". BBC News. 4 May 2023.
  78. ^ a b Utpal Parashar (5 May 2023). "Manipur clashes: Genesis of the decades-old Meitei-Kuki divide". Hindustan Times.
  79. ^ "People say Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun are RSS Creations: Kim Gangte". NewsClick. 5 July 2023.
  80. ^ "Manipur's ethnic faultlines: Kuki-Meitei divide & recent unrest". The Indian Express.
  81. ^ "The Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM) has been demanding ST status for the Meiteis since the latter part of 2012." (Haokip 2015:85)
  82. ^ "To them the demand is to recover the cohesive, harmonious and peaceful society before the merger of Manipur into India on 21 September 1949 (Imphal Free Press 2013). They also emphasised the need to protect their endangered culture and identity by way of being listed as ST under the power vested to the president by Article 342(1) of the Indian Constitution." (Haokip 2015:86)
  83. ^ "To the hill tribal people of Manipur, the demand for ST status by STDCM is a ploy to attenuate the fervent political demands of the Kukis and Nagas, as well as a tacit strategy of the dominant valley dwellers to make inroads into the hill areas of the state." (Haokip 2015:87–88)
  84. ^ Abhinay Lakshman, ST status for Meiteis was considered and rejected in 1982 and 2001, government records show, The Hindu, 17 October 2023.
  85. ^ "A default choice — On return of Biren Singh as Manipur CM". The Hindu. 22 March 2022. It was under Mr. Singh's leadership that the BJP not only increased its seat share in the Manipur Assembly, from 21 (in 2017) to 32 (in 2022), but had also managed to weather several storms while running a minority government in the last five years. Unlike 2017, when the BJP formed the government in dubious circumstances — the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats — the ruling party had a clear-cut majority on its own this time.
  86. ^ "Since 2017, BJP karyakartas (party workers) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharaks (full-time members) stationed in Manipur have been on an ambitious mission to incite the valley's Vaishnavite Meitei (followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism) to assert their Hindutva politics against religious minorities and “illegal” immigrants while also providing the Meiteis with significant electoral positions. In Manipur, the RSS desires Meitei supremacy over other religious minorities." (Singh 2023:10)
  87. ^ "Many Meitei-based organisations, including political parties, have sprung up to defend themselves and demand their interests ever since the rise of the BJP. For example, the Meitei Nationalist Party (MNP), which was founded in the presence of BJP Rajya Sabha member Leishemba Sanajaoba, has declared that its ideology is right wing and that it will protect the Meiteis and India." (Singh 2023:11)
  88. ^ "Through vigilante activities and cultural policing, various Meitei-based organisations have begun to resemble the Sangh Parivar in mounting majoritarian politics, are promoting anti-minority rhetoric, and stirring communal tensions to exploit religious minorities, which further undermines the state's secular ethos."(Singh 2023:11)
  89. ^ Manipur CM says 2,000 Myanmarese in the state, The Telegraph (India), 3 May 2023. ProQuest 2808435678
  90. ^ Schulu Duo, Fault Lines Drawn: Demand for NRC grows in Manipur, Borderlens, 13 April 2023.
  91. ^ Zaina Azhar Sayeda, How Myanmar Civil War Affects The Kuki-Zo People In Manipur, Outlook, 28 November 2023.
  92. ^ Angshuman Choudhury, Centre blaming Myanmar migrants for Manipur violence is dangerous, Frontline, 24 August 2023.
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  96. ^ Horam, Mungreishang (2022). "Contextualizing India's "Act East" Policy Within the Geopolitical Dynamics of the Asia-Pacific Region". Indian Journal of Asian Affairs. 35 (1): 58–72. ISSN 0970-6402. JSTOR 27146667.
  97. ^ Karmakar, Sumir. "Foreign conspiracy behind Manipur violence: NIA". Deccan Herald.
  98. ^ Singh, Bikash (15 August 2023). "Misunderstandings and conspiracies by foreigners led to violence: Manipur CM N Biren Singh". The Economic Times. ISSN 0013-0389.
  99. ^ The Statesman (15 August 2023). "Misunderstanding, conspiracies of foreign nationals led to Manipur violence: CM". The Statesman.
  100. ^ "Tension has been escalating when the state government issued a special order on 7 November 2022 which set aside the orders passed in objection cases, excluding villages from the proposed Churachandpur–Khoupum Protected Forest in the 1970s and the early 1980s. With this order, 38 villages in Churachandpur district suddenly became encroachers in their ancestral lands." (Haokip 2023:7)
  101. ^ PTI (6 May 2023). "The genesis of the Manipur problem: All you need to know about the recent crisis". Telegraph India. The eviction drive, which began in February, declared the forest dwellers as encroachers and was seen as anti-tribal.
  102. ^ a b Deeptiman Tiwary (5 May 2023). "Rising protests, spurts of violence, late police reaction – what went wrong in Manipur". The Indian Express.
  103. ^ a b c d "The genesis of the Manipur problem: All you need to know about the recent crisis". Telegraph India. 6 May 2023.
  104. ^ a b c Yudhajit Shankar Das (4 May 2023). "Manipur violence: State is burning, but what is the decades-old fuel behind the fire". India Today.
  105. ^ Lien Chongloi (27 May 2023). "Dispelling Some Misleading Claims About the Violence in Manipur". The Wire.
  106. ^ Majhi, Suman (5 May 2023). "কী কারণে জ্বলছে মণিপুর? আন্দোলনকারীদের দাবি কী? জানুন সবটা". Eisamay (in Bengali).
  107. ^ a b c Hussain, Afrida (4 May 2023). "How Manipur violence unfolded: A timeline of events". India Today.
  108. ^ "Manipur violence: Mob sets open gym facility on fire ahead of CM's visit, Section 144 imposed in Churachandpur". Financialexpress. 28 April 2023. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  109. ^ Gupta, Shekhar (22 July 2023). "New BJP govt, old divisive ways. Biren's rule shows party never gave Manipur real change". ThePrint.
  110. ^ a b Special Leave Petition (Civil) Diary No 19206 of 2023: Dinganglung Gangmei vs. Mutum Churamani Meetei & Others, The Supreme Court of India, August 2023. "... large-scale violence broke out in the State of Manipur on 03.05.2023 after a Tribal Solidarity March undertaken by All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) in opposition to the demand for inclusion of the Meitei community in the list of Scheduled Tribes. The call for this march led to a counter response by Meiteis. Thereafter large-scale violence broke out in the State of Manipur...".
  111. ^ a b "Tribal Solidarity March takes ugly turn; houses, offices, vehicles burnt". The Sangai Express. 4 May 2023. Churachandpur section. Reports about a clash between people who had imposed a counter-blockade at Torbung and those returning from the rally started doing the rounds at Torbung. The stand-off that initially started with pelting stones soon escalated with vehicles and properties being targeted. Violence and arson rapidly engulfed the neighbouring Kangvai area as people were seen leaving their homes and running into an open field.
  112. ^ a b c PTI (3 May 2023). "Curfew in eight districts of Manipur, mobile internet services suspended over tribal stir". The Hindu.
  113. ^ Watch | Meitei Pride Group's Threat: 'Kukis Mainly Illegal, Modi Must Intervene or There'll Be Civil War’, The Wire, 6 June 2023. '[Pramot Singh is] also questioned about his tweet of May 2 (24 hours before the troubles began) where the Meitei Leepun official Twitter handle called for a counter-blockade adding, “it's our duty to enforce our position physically”.
  114. ^ "Tribal Solidarity March takes ugly turn; houses, offices, vehicles burnt". The Sangai Express. 4 May 2023. Moirang section. (Lead paragraph: Several houses, shops and vehicles have been torched at Torbung, Bangla, Kangvai and Phougakchao Ikhai situated along the adjoining areas of Churachandpur and Bishnupur districts.) It is reported that the properties were torched for launching a counter agitation against the Solidarity March of ATSUM.
  115. ^ Jon Suante (4 May 2023). "Manipur Govt Brings in Army, Assam Rifles to Curb Violence, CM Urges Peace on TV". The Wire. The miscreants' act resulted in a clash between the villagers of Churachandpur and Bishnpur districts, around Kangvai locality where the majority population belongs to the Kuki tribal community. Locals told The Wire their houses were burnt, forcing dozens of them to rush to nearby forests for shelter and safety.
  116. ^
    • Das, Yudhajit Shankar (4 May 2023). "Manipur violence: State is burning, but what is the decades-old fuel behind the fire". India Today. 'They [Meitei mobs] only moved back only after Kukis from neighbouring villages and towns came to confront them. The initial violence was in Kangvai village. Police and commandos remained mute spectators and sided with them as they went about ransacking and destroying houses. Over 30 people have been injured,' says [Kelvin Neihsial of All Manipur Tribal Union].
    • Lien Chongloi (27 May 2023). "Dispelling Some Misleading Claims About the Violence in Manipur". The Wire. According to eyewitness accounts, many Meitei volunteers who were held up at Kakwa [Kwakta] areas started moving towards Torbung and Kangvai areas and began torching Kuki houses. The first victim of that mob attack was Haopu Kipgen from Torbung Village; he was bludgeoned to death. The first casualty with torching of houses, therefore, was a Kuki.
    • Sudha Ramachandran (12 June 2023). "Kham Khan Suan Hausing on Why Manipur Is up in Flames". The Diplomat. These protest rallies were peaceful. Yet they were met with counter-blockades by various Meitei civil society organizations in various parts of the valley. Meitei miscreants burned down the Anglo-Kuki War (1917-19) Centenary Memorial Gate at Leisang village and beat up Kuki boys returning from a protest rally. Such incidents escalated into mob fighting. As the Meitei mobs burned down some Vaiphei-speaking houses in Kangvai village later, the ethnopolitical conflict spread like wildfire and transformed large parts of the state into killing fields.
  117. ^ Deeptiman Tiwary (26 July 2023). "An arrest, crackdown and deep distrust: Manipur fire had been simmering for over a year". The Indian Express. ProQuest 2841943429. Things began to turn ugly around 2.15 pm that day after a tyre was seen burning along the plaque of the Kuki War memorial gate near Torbung, kilometers ahead of Churachandpur. Around the same time, police found two bodies in Kangvai village, a kilometre away from Torbung. Following this, massive crowds began building up on the Torbung-Kangwai stretch of the Imphal-Churachandpur highway.
  118. ^ a b Lien Chongloi, Dispelling Some Misleading Claims About the Violence in Manipur, The Wire, 27 May 2023. "On May 3, while a peaceful protest was underway at the Kuki-majority Churachandpur town, news had reached the hill areas that the Anglo-Kuki Centenary Gate at Leisang-Monglenphai was set on fire by unidentified Meitei miscreants. According to eyewitness accounts, many Meitei volunteers who were held up at Kakwa [Kwakta] areas started moving towards Torbung and Kangvai areas and began torching Kuki houses. The first victim of that mob attack was Haopu Kipgen from Torbung Village; he was bludgeoned to death. The first casualty with torching of houses, therefore, was a Kuki."
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  120. ^ "Thousands march against ST demand in Manipur hill districts". Imphal Free Press. 3 May 2023. The march was a grand success in Churachandpur district where a record crowd, estimated to be more than one lakh [100,000], including students started the march from Lamka Public Ground, Hiangtam Lamka and culminated at Peace Ground, Tuibong, as reported by our Churachandpur correspondent. There were no reports of any untoward incident till 1 pm.
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