More than 50 people have died in recent ethnic clashes in northeastern India. The fuse of the conflict is that the government intends to give the Mei Tai ethnic group a “listed tribe” status, which will allow the tribe to obtain government jobs and university admissions, which has caused dissatisfaction among other ethnic groups.
(The Voice of Deutsche Welle Chinese Network) More than 50 people were killed in ethnic clashes in a remote area of northeastern India. A total of 54 people have died in Imphal, the capital of Manipur state, and Churachamp district hospitals further south, according to local media reports. Some 23,000 people have fled as the violence escalated. In addition, authorities said about 100 people were injured in ethnic clashes. More than 500 homes have been burned and cars set on fire in the past few days.
The conflict is fueled by the government’s possible recognition of the Hindu minority, the Meitei, as “scheduled tribes”. Indian law guarantees that ethnic minorities who have obtained this status can obtain certain government positions and university admission places to address structural discrimination. They are also eligible for state welfare schemes, special rights and, in some cases, autonomy. However, Manipur’s other predominantly Christian Naga and Kuki ethnic groups objected to the decision, arguing that the Metai were already wealthy enough.
The authorities mobilized thousands of troops
A protest march turned violent on Wednesday, with authorities sending thousands of soldiers to Manipur state. The local government imposed an internet ban and ordered shootings to be allowed in “extreme circumstances”. Violence resumed on Friday night, but the situation has since eased.
In Manipur, a state with a population of 29 million, the Maitai account for about 53% of the total population, followed by various tribal groups, accounting for about 40%. According to the 2011 census, Hinduism and Christianity are the main religions in the state.
Ethnic conflicts have left 50,000 dead
Northeastern India has been in turmoil since the 1950s as ethnic minorities and separatist groups sought autonomy and even secession from India. At least 50,000 people have died in Manipur alone. Such conflicts have subsided in recent years as many groups struck a deal with the federal government in New Delhi to gain more power.
(AFP, Reuters, Catholic News Agency)
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