Conflicts & War

India eases curfew in northeastern state after over a month of violence

New Delhi, Jun 19 (EFE).- Indian authorities have relaxed the curfew imposed in the northeastern state of Manipur for over a month as the security situation has improved in the region, which has been embroiled in a wave of ethnic violence since the beginning of May.

“Curfew has been relaxed now because things are getting back to normal. It (the relaxation) is 12 hours now. From 5 am to 5 pm,” Diana Devi, the joint commissioner of Manipur’s Imphal East district, told EFE.

The indefinite easing of the restrictions would allow residents to access food and other essential goods and services, after being asked to stay indoors since last month.

The conflict between the minority Kuki tribal group, concentrated in the hilly areas of the province, and the majority Meitei community settled in the valley, has led to death of more than a hundred people, according to media reports and civil society groups, while over 50,000 have been forced to flee their homes.

However, the Indian government has not provided an official death toll.

The clashes began on May 3 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, which would allow the majority and predominantly Hindu community to gain access to quotas in education and government jobs available to disadvantaged groups in India.

The gradual decline in violence in certain areas last month had led to authorities completely lifting the curfew there.

However, the residents of many other regions, such as Imphal East, still depended on a small window of time allowed by authorities to go out and get supplies.

Manipur has witnessed intense fighting and disturbances in recent days, along with attacks on police headquarters and residences of government officials.

The house of a junior minister in the Indian government was burned down in state capital Imphal on Thursday, while over the weekend several shootings were reported across the state and a police station was attacked by a mob of around 500 people.

Internet has remained suspended in the entire state since the beginning of the violence, which has prevented media reports and real-time information from coming out of the region.


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