Manipur Violence

Manipur Violence: 175 Lives Lost and Thousands of Homes Destroyed in Ethnic Violence

The northeastern state of Manipur has been gripped by relentless ethnic violence since early May, claiming the lives of 175 individuals and leaving 1,108 injured, with 32 people still missing, as revealed by the police. The situation has also seen an alarming escalation in property damage, with 4,786 houses set ablaze and 386 religious structures vandalized.

IGP (Operations) IK Muivah addressed the pressing issue in a recent press conference, shedding light on the distressing scenario. He expressed concern over the theft of a considerable number of arms and ammunition from the police, further aggravating the volatile situation in the state. As per official records, over 4,000 arms were looted from state armouries since the onset of violence, with 1,329 of them recovered to date.

The violence has seen a staggering 5,172 cases of arson, resulting in the destruction of numerous homes. Additionally, 386 religious structures, including 254 churches and 132 temples, fell victim to the rampant vandalism. Security barricades that had become flashpoints for violence were removed, notably in regions like Phougakchao Ikhai and Kangvai, contributing to a more volatile situation.

The root of the conflict lies in the demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status by the Meitei community, constituting about 53% of Manipur’s population. The ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ initiated on May 3 to protest this demand sparked the ethnic strife. The tribal population, including Nagas and Kukis, making up 40% of the population, predominantly resides in the hill districts.

Recent incidents continue to escalate tensions, with a sub-inspector of the Manipur Police losing his life while on duty in Churachandpur district. The violence remains a pressing concern, necessitating urgent and collaborative efforts to restore peace and stability in the region.

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