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One Dead In Fresh Violence In India’s Northeast

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Photo: Reuters.

One person was shot dead, and homes were set on fire as fresh violence erupted in India’s restive northeastern state of Manipur, according to officials.

Following the outbreak of interethnic violence this month in Manipur state of India, at least 70 people were killed, and tens of thousands of people were displaced.

Meanwhile, around 2,000 homes were destroyed by fire in the state bordering Myanmar.

The violence erupted between tribal and non-tribal groups over constitutional issues in the state earlier this month. 

Meanwhile, the local government could not control the violence. As a result, the interior ministry sent more federal Rapid Action Force members to the state to control the situation.

Long-standing ethnic fault lines have caused conflict between the leading Meitei group, which is predominantly Hindu and resides in Imphal’s valley, and the predominantly Christian tribes who reside in the adjacent hills. The state’s 3.5 million citizens, predominantly Nagas and Kukis, comprise about 40% of the population.

The Meitei has been asking for recognition as a “scheduled tribe” for the past 20 years, granting them privileged access to government and school jobs.

According to the Meitei tribes, they claim to be in the majority, educated, and with more clout in politics. They demand special quotas due to employment in the public sector and academia.

The Manipur High Court’s directive to the state administration to sanction the application for scheduled tribe status last month, even though tensions had been building for some time, set off the unrest. 

Still, the violent protests continued as people burning tires on roadways and setting some buildings in the state’s borderlands with Myanmar were shown on TV. 

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