New Delhi, Jun 14 (EFE).- At least nine people were killed and 10 wounded in the latest instance of violence in the ethnic conflict raging in India’s northeastern state of Manipur for over a month, a police official told EFE on Wednesday.
The conflict between the Kuki tribal group, concentrated in the hilly areas of the province, and the majority Meitei community settled in the valley, began in early May and has killed nearly 100 people, while over 50,000 have been forced to flee their homes.
Kh Herojit, the joint superintendent of police in the Imphal East district, said that the incident took place on Tuesday night in the Khamenlok village of the adjacent Kangpokpi district.
“Some suspected Kuki militants fired on some Meitei volunteers and some people were injured after retaliation from Meitei people,” he told EFE.
The clashes began in May after a demonstration by the minority tribal communities against the regional High Court advising the inclusion of the Meiteis in the list of disadvantaged “scheduled” tribes.
The inclusion would allow the majority and predominantly Hindu community to gain access to quotas in education and government jobs available to disadvantaged groups in India.
This possibility has infuriated the minority tribal communities, including the Kukis, most of whom are Christians.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah visited Manipur in late May to meet authorities and community leaders, urging civilians to surrender the thousands of weapons looted from police stations and the state armory during the violence.
In an attempt to put an end to hostilities, the government formed a peace committee that includes representatives from different ethnic groups of the state, apart from ministers and public personalities.
However, both Kukis and Meiteis have criticized the composition of the body amid allegations of attempted ethnic cleansing and calls for a separate state for Kukis.
The tribal group Kuki Inpi Manipur on Monday panned the peace committee for the inclusion of Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh as he had “lost all his credibility” and called for direct mediation by the federal home ministry of India.
Meanwhile Meitei groups and the regional government have accused Kuki insurgent groups of stoking the violence. EFE