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20 dead in Manipur violence so far

Five more areas in Imphal East and Imphal West have also been identified as sensitive areas.


20 dead in Manipur violence so far
Army and Assam Rifles personnel conduct a flag march in violence-hit areas amid tribal groups' protest over court order on Scheduled Tribe status, Manipur, May 5, 2023. Credit: PTI Photo

At least 20 people have died while over 100 others have been injured in Manipur so far due to the violent clash between the majority Meiteis and the tribals since Wednesday, officials said on Saturday.



Kuldip Singh, who was appointed by the Centre as the security advisor to the Manipur government, told news agency ANI that at least 18 to 20 people have died and they are verifying the exact reasons behind the deaths. Unconfirmed reports put the death toll at 54. More than 500 houses have been burnt down or damaged due to the classes that have kept Manipur on the boil. "Situation has improved compared to Thursday and Friday but the tension is still there in the hills areas in Churachandpur, Bishnupur, Moreh, and Kangpokpi. The central security forces have been deployed in at least 23 locations which have been identified as the most vulnerable areas," Singh told the agency on Saturday.


Five more areas in Imphal East and Imphal West have also been identified as sensitive areas. Over 20, 000 people have been evacuated by the security forces while many have started taking shelters in neighboring Assam and Mizoram.



Four gunned down:

Four suspected militants were killed during an encounter with security forces in Churachandpur, the epicenter of the violence that has kept Manipur on the boil since Wednesday. Police officials said the suspected militants opened fire at the security forces, who were evacuating people from the troubled areas. The four died when the security forces fired in retaliation. Two security force personnel were also injured in the gunfight, sources said.



The violence started in Churachandpur and Bishenpur districts on Wednesday after a large number of people came out in support of a state-wide "solidarity march" organized by the All Tribal Students' Union. Several houses were set on fire and vandalized in Churachandpur district. The state-wide protest march was organized against the proposal for according Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the Meitei community, which constitutes about 53 percent of the state's population. Meiteis believe the ST will ensure equal land rights as they, at present, can not buy land in

the tribal-dominated hill districts. Tribals, mainly the Kukis and Nagas are, however, against the proposal saying the same could pose a threat to their identity.


Army, CRPF, BSF, and IRB personnel have been carrying out flag marches as the situation has still remained tense. Curfew is still on and the ban on the use of mobile internet, broadband, and other data services is still in force. The Centre promulgated Article 355 on Thursday and took over the law and order in the state as the BJP-led government in the state struggled to contain the violence.



Death toll:

Singh is the first official to have confirmed the death toll in the violence.


Although no official statement was made about the deaths, CM N. Biren Singh, in a video message on Thursday said many innocent lives were

lost due to the violence.


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