Watch | Climate of fear still lingers in Manipur

Climate of fear still lingers in Manipur

A video explaining the roots of the conflict in Manipur

May 29, 2023 08:30 pm | Updated May 31, 2023 05:42 pm IST

These are the remains of the day in Churachandpur, a district in Manipur

At the start of May, Manipur witnessed one if its worst ethnic clashes

Tensions between two communities - the Meiteis and the Kuki-Zomi – have been building for over three decades

But on May 3rd, it reached a boiling point

Homes were burnt, families were displaced, and the memories of that fateful night continue to haunt the region.

Some residents who fled Churachandpur, the epicenter of the violence, say they are afraid to return

Villages stand guarded, and displaced residents take shelter in relief camps, in an atmosphere of uncertainty.

What caused this conflict?

The Meiteis, the majority population, have historically lived in the Imphal valley, while the Kuki-Zomi people, predominantly Christians, occupy the hill districts.

For three decades, relations between the two communities have been edgy, with each accusing the other on several issues

Meitei leaders claim that the Kuki-Zomis have been allowing migrants from Myanmar illegally, leading to concerns about population growth

On the other hand, Kuki-Zomi organisations argue that they have faced discrimination and marginalisation, with a lack of representation in the State government.

The demands for separate administrations and increasing radicalisation have further deepened the divide.

In Churachandpur, the residents have crossed out ‘Manipur’ from State government offices and rechristened landmarks as ‘Lamka.’

This was what the area was called before it was named after Maharaja Churachand of Manipur.

The immediate trigger for the clashes in May was a Manipur High Court order granting Scheduled Tribe status to the Meiteis

Both sides have traded accusations, blaming each other for the destruction.

Neither district has declared how many are dead on either side of the conflict.

Hospital sources in both Churachandpur and Imphal say that there were close to a hundred bodies in the morgues of both districts.

As the State tries to pick up the pieces in the weeks since the clashes, the sense of fear still lingers.

Reporting: Abhinaya Lakshman

Voiceover: Abhinaya Sriram

Production: Reenu Cyriac

Videos: ANI/ Ritu Raj Konwar

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