On Thursday, India enforced a curfew in Manipur’s capital and certain troubled areas. This action followed violent incidents and student injuries resulting from protests against the reported abduction and murder of two students.
Ethnic violence has triggered a fierce civil conflict in Manipur, a northeastern state bordering Myanmar. This battle revolves around land, employment, and political power, with the state’s two major local groups at the centre of the struggle.
“Indefinite curfew had to be implemented in Imphal and some other districts,” L. Kailun, a senior police official based in the state capital, told Reuters.
Over 80 students were injured during clashes on Wednesday, according to an anonymous police official. The situation has become highly volatile, with armed mobs vandalizing a ruling political party office and launching petrol bomb attacks on two police facilities.
Officials have suspended mobile internet services in the state for five days. Manipur has witnessed a tragic toll since the initial outbreak of violence on May 3, with over 180 lives lost and more than 50,000 individuals forced to flee their homes, according to the report.
Manipur, with a population of 3.2 million, is predominantly comprised of the Meitei community, accounting for more than half, while the Kuki community, constituting about 43 per cent, predominantly resides in the hills.
Recent protests were sparked by the alleged kidnapping and subsequent murder of two Meitei students who had disappeared in July, and the viral spread of this news has reignited ethnic tensions in the state.
Manipur’s Chief Minister, N. Biren Singh, a Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party member, strongly condemned the alleged murder.
He pledged to ensure the harshest possible punishment for the perpetrators.
Families of the students and Meitei leaders have accused Kuki militants of the recent killings, expressing frustration with authorities for their inability to quell the violence.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders from the Congress party have criticized the Modi government for its perceived inability to control the unrest in a state governed by his nationalist party.