Recent ethnic clashes between the Kuki and Meitei ethnic groups in Manipur, India have left over 50 people dead, with hundreds more injured and 23,000 displaced, according to CCN. The violence erupted earlier this week, with clashes breaking out on the streets of Imphal, the capital of Manipur, and other parts of the state.
The Indian army was deployed to the area and has been helping to evacuate civilians from the affected areas, with an order from Governor Anusuiya Uikey, approving a shoot on sight measure to restore order. The report states that the 23,000 displaced people are being housed on military bases.
While the violence erupted over concerns about the inclusion of the Meitei in India’s “Scheduled Tribe” grouping, the conflict is rooted in a history of discrimination and inequality. Scheduled tribes in India are recognized as some of the most disadvantaged groups in the country. They have historically faced discrimination and exclusion from mainstream society, with limited access to education, healthcare, and job opportunities.
The Meitei community have campaigned for years to be recognized as a Scheduled Tribe, however, this campaign has been met with opposition from other communities in the state, who have raised concerns that the inclusion of the Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe list would give them an unfair advantage in accessing benefits and opportunities, and would result in further marginalization of their community.