Armed mob goes on the rampage in the troubled state of Manipur
Simmering tensions between the minority Christian Kukis against mostly Hindu Meiteis exploded in May with an outbreak of killings, arson and a rampage of hate. This followed the Meiteis demanding a special status that would allow them to buy land in the hills populated by Kukis and other tribal groups, as well as a share of government jobs.
The Meiteis have long blamed the minority Kukis for the state’s rampant drug problems and accused them of harbouring migrants from Myanmar. Angry mobs and armed gangs have swept into villages and towns, burning down houses, massacring civilians and driving tens of thousands from their homes. More than 50,000 people have been forced to flee to packed relief camps. Many who fought back were killed, sometimes bludgeoned to death or even beheaded. The deadly clashes, which have left at least 120 dead, persist despite a large army presence. Wide swathes of the state have been turned into ghost towns and left scorched by fire.
“It is as close to civil war as any state in independent India has ever been,” said Sushant Singh, a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in India and an Indian army veteran.
The unrest has been met with nearly two months of silence from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party has power in Manipur.