Violence erupted in several sections of Manipur on Wednesday during the ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ called by All Tribal Student Union Manipur (ATSUM) throughout the state’s ten hill districts. Following violence in some parts of Manipur during a tribal rally, the Congress accused the BJP of inciting the violence “creating fissures among communities”. In a tweet, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge stated, “Manipur is burning. BJP has created fissures among communities and destroyed the peace of a beautiful state.
BJP’s politics of hate, division and its greed for power is responsible for this mess. We appeal to people from all sides to exercise restraint and give peace a chance.” Jairam Ramesh, a Congress MP and general secretary in charge of communications, stated, “Collapse of administration in Manipur. Centre is busy with Karnataka elections.” Violence erupted in some parts of Manipur on Wednesday during the ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ called by the All Tribal Student Union Manipur (ATSUM) in the state’s ten hill districts to protest the demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status by non-tribal Meiteis, who account for 53% of the state’s population.
The march was organised in response to an April 19 High Court order requiring the BJP-led state administration to submit a report to the Centre within four weeks on the Metei community’s request for ST status. During Wednesday’s rally, thousands of tribals, who make up roughly 40% of the state’s population, marched in procession, waved placards, and shouted slogans opposing ST status for the Meitei. According to authorities, during the march in Torbung region of Churachandpur district, an armed mob allegedly attacked members of the Meitei group, resulting in retaliatory attacks in the valley districts, which intensified the violence throughout the state. In Torbung, several shops and houses were vandalised and gutted in an arson that lasted more than three hours.
Following the violence, the Indian Army and Assam Rifles were deployed to restore law and order. According to a defence official, 7,500 individuals have been evacuated and housed by the forces so far, and others are being sent to safer areas. Boxing legend MC Mary Kom also urged the Centre to assist the state. “My state Manipur is burning, kindly help,” In the early hours, the legendary boxer posted photographs of the mayhem, naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah met with Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Thursday to assess the state’s position. The Centre, which is monitoring the situation in Manipur, has also sent teams of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), a specialised force for dealing with riot-like circumstances, to the Northeastern state’s violence-hit areas. Apart from the Army Assam Rifles, roughly 15 CRPF companies were also available in Manipur for deployment in conflict zones, according to PTI.