New Delhi, Sep 15 (EFE).- At least 175 people have been killed, more than a thousand wounded and dozens remain missing in India’s northeastern state of Manipur since a wave of ethnic violence broke out in May and continues to affect the region.
More than four months of conflict in the state have so far resulted in 1,118 people being wounded and 32 going missing apart from the 175 deaths reported, Manipur’s Inspector General of Police IK Muivah said in a press conference on Thursday, covered by the Indian media a day later due to restrictions on communication in the state.
The death toll includes 96 unclaimed dead bodies lying in various morgues of the region, Muivah said.
Since the ethnic conflict broke out, more than 5,000 cases of arson were reported against houses and religious places.
More than 500 weapons, 15,000 munitions and 400 bombs were seized from the warring ethnic groups, while around 37,000 people were taken into preventive custody. .
As the situation in the state has improved in recent days, on Thursday authorities began to withdraw a state-wide barrier that served as the “buffer zones” that separated ethnic groups and ensured security on the roads.
The clashes began in early May when the Manipur high court recommended that the majority ethnic group Meitei be included in the list of disadvantaged tribes or indigenous communities, which infuriated the minority Kuki community, concentrated in the hilly areas of the state,
The Kukis – a mostly Christian community – have been opposing the largely Hindu Meiteis’ demand to be identified as underprivileged “scheduled tribes” (ST), which could result in them getting quotas in public sector jobs and higher education as part of India’s affirmative action policy.
Subsequently armed violence has continued on and off between the two communities for the last four months, triggering a suspension of internet services in the state and restrictions on citizens movements, cutting off communication and real-time access to information in and about the state.
According to authorities, more than 50,000 people have been displaced due to the ethnic violence, being forced to take shelter in relief camps.
The conflict has also reverberated in the Indian parliament, where opposition parties have accused the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – whose party is also in power in Manipur – of remaining silent and ineffective in controlling the violence. EFE