Communal violence has erupted in the northeastern state of Manipur, displacing over 9,000 people from their villages. The violence broke out during a “Tribal Solidarity March” on May 3, which was organized by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur to protest the inclusion of the Meitei community in the list of the state’s Scheduled Tribes. This demand had received a boost from an order of the Manipur High Court last month.
The situation deteriorated rapidly when the Anglo-Kuki War Memorial Gate in Leisang was destroyed by Meitei mobs, followed by the razing of Vaiphei houses in Kangvai village in retaliation. The violence then spread to other areas of Manipur, prompting the Governor to issue a ‘shoot at sight’ order on Thursday, allowing all magistrates to issue the same when persuasion, warning, and reasonable force “have been exhausted and the situation could not be controlled”.
To control the situation, the Army and Assam Rifles conducted flag marches in the affected areas of Khuga, Tampa, Khomaujanbba, Mantripukhri, Lamphel, Koeirangi, and Sugnu. However, the large-scale communal riots have exposed the collapse of law and order in the state, and the displacement of thousands of people is a matter of grave concern.
To understand the underlying issues in Manipur that lead to such violent outbreaks, it is necessary to delve into the state’s complex sociopolitical history. As the situation remains tense, it is crucial to address the root causes and work towards a lasting solution to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future. Here’s a bunch of stories from Frontline that provide an in-depth analysis of the situation, offering a holistic view of the causes behind the unfolding violence in Manipur.