At least 40 suspected militants and two police officers were killed late Sunday when fresh violence broke out in northeast India’s Manipur.
Manipur has been on edge following an outbreak of interethnic violence this month, resulting in at least 70 deaths and tens of thousands of displaced persons.
According to the state government official, who did not wish to be named, said that Manipur Chief Minister N.Biren Singh told reporters earlier Sunday that security forces killed around 40 “militants” over the last two days, local media reported.
He noted that two police officers had also died during the recent two days of rioting.
“The terrorists have been using M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles and sniper guns against civilians. They came to many villages to burn down homes,” media outlets said.
“We have started taking strong action against them with the help of the army and other security forces. We have reports that some 40 terrorists have been shot dead,” Singh said.
The violence in Manipur earlier in May was between the predominantly Hindu Meitei, who dwell in and around the state capital Imphal, and the largely Christian Kuki tribe in the nearby highlands.
Kuki’s rage over the possibility of the Meitei receiving guaranteed quotas of government jobs and other benefits through affirmative action served as the spark.
The violent protest caused the central government to send thousands of troops to maintain security in the state, and more than 30,000 thousand fled their homes for their safety.