Conflicts & War

At least 13 dead in ethnic violence in northeastern India

New Delhi, Dec 4 (EFE).- At least 13 people died on Monday in a shootout in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, police told Efe.

The incident raises the death toll in ethnic clashes to 175 since the violence began in May.

Oinam Sukumar, the additional superintendent of police for the Tengnoupal district where the incident occurred, confirmed to EFE that at least 13 people were killed in the “shootout,” which remains under investigation.

Sukumar said that all the victims belonged to the Meitei community, the majority ethnic group in the region, which has been entangled in sectarian clashes with several minority communities.

The clashes between the majority Meitei and minority Kuki communities have claimed around 175 lives and displaced over 50,000 people since the violence began on May 3 in the remote and mountainous state of Manipur.

The clashes broke out after the regional High Court advised the inclusion of the Meitei community on the list of disadvantaged “scheduled” tribes.

The inclusion will allow the majority and predominantly Hindu community to gain access to quotas in education and government jobs available to marginalized groups in India.

The Kukis, a minority group composed of various – mostly Chrsitian – tribes, dominate mountain territories, while the majority Meitei inhabit the flat areas of the territory.

The Kukis saw the court’s decision as an attempt to revoke their privileges and establish the dominance of the Hindu ethnic majority in the region.

The violence comes days after the Indian government reached a historic agreement last week with the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), a separatist group that has been active in Manipur for almost six decades.

The deal aims to facilitate the laying down of arms by the UNLF and their integration into society. EFE

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