Manipur’s Assembly is scheduled to meet today to discuss ongoing regional violence. Manipur, a small north-eastern Indian state bordering Myanmar,
Manipur’s Assembly is scheduled to meet today to discuss ongoing regional violence.
Manipur, a small north-eastern Indian state bordering Myanmar, has experienced ethnic violence since May. Around 160 people have been killed and over 60,000 displaced. Armed groups from the state’s predominantly-Hindu Meitei majority and mostly-Christian Kuki minority have been fighting each other. Violence broke out following the Meitei’s demand to be given official tribal status, which would further strengthen their influence and allow them to settle in rural areas currently dominated by the Kuki.
The federal government deployed 40,000 soldiers and shut down the internet to control the situation. The violence grabbed international attention in July, when a video from early May emerged showing two Kuki women being paraded naked by a Meitei mob. The opposition introduced a vote of no-confidence against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was silent on the conflict until then. Modi easily defeated the motion, but the opposition, which formed an anti-Modi alliance, will use the crisis in Manipur to garner support for next year’s general election. Given that Manipur is also governed by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, the violence there could tarnish his image as strong national leader, although he is still likely to win the election.