Curfew in Indian state after protests turn violent

time:2023-06-10 21:42:33source:Al Jazeera author:Press center4

The north-eastern Indian state of Manipur is under tight security after a tribal agitation ended in violence.

Tribal groups were protesting against the demand for affirmative action by the state's Meitei community.

Manipur chief minister blamed the incidents on "prevailing misunderstanding" between communities and said his government was taking steps to control the situation.

Curfew has been imposed in the areas of the state hit by violence on Wednesday.

Mobile internet services have also been suspended in many parts of the the state for five days. On Thursday, the Indian Army carried out a flag march in the violence-hit areas.

Members of the Meitei community, who account for at least 50% of the state's population, have been demanding inclusion under the Scheduled Tribe category for years.

India reserves government jobs, college admissions and elected seats - from village councils to the parliament - for communities under this category to rectify historical wrongs that have denied them equal opportunities.

Last month, the Manipur High Court asked the state government to consider petitions for the Meitei community's demand and decide on it "expeditiously".

Other tribal communities in the state fear they will have to fight for jobs and resources if the Meiteis are given Scheduled Tribe status.

On Tuesday, thousands of tribal people from the hill districts of the state participated in a march called by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur to oppose the demand.

According to the Indian Express, on Wednesday afternoon, the rally in Churachandpur district turned violent after demonstrators clashed with a group of people.

The state government said the protest led to violence in Churachandpur and the neighbouring Bishnupur district.

"Since 24 hours, some incidents of clashes and vandalism have been reported in some places," Chief Minister N Biren Singh said. "The state government is taking all steps to control the situation."

Boxer and Olympics bronze medallist Mary Kom appealed to the state and the federal government to help maintain peace and security in the state.

"It is unfortunate that some people lost their family members in this violence. This situation must get normal at the earliest," she told the news agency ANI.

Reports of casualties have not been confirmed by authorities.

Indian Army said its units carried out rescue operations through Wednesday night to evacuate more than 7,500 civilians of all communities to restore law and order.

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