Conflicts & War

Indian interior minister looks to end ethnic violence in northeast

New Delhi, May 31 (EFE).- Indian Interior Minister Amit Shah met with community leaders and security forces from the northeastern state of Manipur on Wednesday to try to end the spiral of ethnic violence that has left more than 80 dead.

“Held a meeting with the delegations of Kuki and other communities at Moreh. They expressed strong support for the government’s initiatives to restore normalcy in Manipur,” Shah tweeted.

The Interior Minister also met with senior officials to take stock of the security situation in the border city with Myanmar, after meeting Tuesday with representatives of political parties and civil state groups.

Shah is in Manipur to assess the situation and find a solution to the violence, which began earlier this month after the regional High Court advised the inclusion of the Meitei ethnic group on the list of disadvantaged tribes.

This will allow the majority and predominantly Hindu community to gain access to reservation in education and government jobs available to disadvantaged groups in India.

The court observation caused unrest among the 33 tribes – mostly Kukis and Nagas and predominantly Christian – in Manipur, who make up about 40 percent of its population.

A demonstration by members of minority tribes against the inclusion of the Meitei turned violent on May 3, and the initial riots quickly led to an inter-community conflict that has resulted in more than 20,000 displaced people and 80 dead, according to the latest report by the Indian Express newspaper.

Internet services have remained suspended and security forces have taken to the streets to prevent further clashes between communities.

Manipur has been the scene of clashes between communities and separatist movements in the past.

Following the recent clashes, the regional government accused insurgent groups of stoking the violence and unrest among civilians.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said nearly 40 insurgents were killed by the security forces.

However, Chief of Defence Staff of the Indian Armed Forces, Anil Chauhan, said during a press conference on Tuesday that the situation in Manipur had nothing to do with insurgents and was primarily a clash between two ethnic groups. EFE


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