India - May 2023
Ethnic violence breaks out in the northeast
Ethnic clashes broke out on 3 May in India’s northeast state Manipur between Meitei and Kuki communities, leaving numerous dead and tens of thousands displaced. Thousands of troops and paramilitary forces were deployed to restore order, with curfews issued and internet services suspended – the latter of which has been criticized by rights experts. The conflict stems from long-standing ethnic divisions, most recently triggered by a court decision which recommended that the State government consider granting the Meitei community Scheduled Tribe status. If granted, such status would give the community, which is a majority in the state, access to wider social benefits and the ability to buy land in areas occupied by minority communities. Local Kuki activists accuse predominantly Hindu-majority Meitei groups affiliated with the ruling party government, of targeting Kuki properties, while police are accused of siding with the Meitei community to quell the unrest. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has urged the Indian government to address the “root causes of the violence”, while rights experts have emphasized the need for an impartial response and the protection of human rights in Manipur. President Narendra Modi is yet to publicly comment on the violence, while Union Home Minister Amit Shah in his 4-day visit to Manipur stated that the Modi government "stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Manipur," promising relief measures and a judicial probe into the violence.