Security patrols keep peace after 60 die and 35,000 displaced in India clashes


Security measures are keeping the peace in a remote north-east Indian state where 60 people were killed and 35,000 civilians displaced in rioting and ethnic clashes last week, officials said.

Manipur state’s chief minister, N Biren Singh, told reporters late on Monday that around 230 people were injured and about 1,700 houses were burned by protesters after fierce fighting broke out when members of tribal groups clashed with a non-tribal group over demands of economic benefits and reservation status.

Mr Singh said thousands of civilians, escorted by security personnel, are now returning home after the situation was brought under control by police and army who patrolled the streets and enforced a curfew that is still in place.

India Clashes
Refugees from Manipur state rest at a relief camp at Lakhipur, in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam (Panna Ghosh/AP)

On Monday, India’s Home Minister Amit Shah told the India Today news channel that the situation in Manipur is under control and appealed to the people to maintain peace.

Violence in Manipur, which borders Myanmar, broke out last week after protests by more than 50,000 Kukis and members of other predominantly Christian tribal communities in Churachandpur and adjoining districts.

They were protesting at the majority Meitei Hindu community’s demand for a special status that would give them benefits including the right to farm on forest land, cheap bank loans, and health and educational facilities, as well as a specified quota of government jobs.

India Clashes
Security measures are keeping the peace in remote Mainipur state in north-east India where 60 people were killed and 35,000 civilians displaced in rioting and ethnic clashes last week (Panna Ghosh/AP)

Two-thirds of the state’s 2.5 million people live in a valley that comprises roughly 10% of the state’s total area.

The Meiteis are Hindus while rival groups, including the Kuki and other tribes, are mostly Christian and mainly live in the surrounding hill districts.

Ethnic Muslims constitute about 8% of the state population.


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