60 dead, 231 injured from ethnic clashes in India’s Manipur: official
NEW DELHI — Ethnic clashes in India’s northeastern state of Manipur have claimed about 60 lives, according to a senior official.
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh told media that a high-level inquiry will be conducted into the violence to identify people responsible for the violence. He put the death toll at 60.
“Around 60 people have lost their lives so far, while 231 have suffered injuries in the violence. Also, about 1,700 houses were burned down in the unfortunate incidents (rioting) on May 3,” Singh said, while appealing to restore peace and calm in the northeastern state.
Singh also informed that people stranded at different locations were being provided with all possible care and support.
“Till now, 20,000 such persons have been evacuated and about 10,000 remain stranded,” he said.
Large-scale violence broke out in the state last week during a tribal protest demonstration over the inclusion of the non-tribal Meiteis community for a scheduled tribe status.
Scheduled tribes in India are officially designated as disadvantaged socio-economic groups. They are given reservations in education and jobs with the aim to improve their lives.
Thousands of people took part in the rally during which violence broke out between tribals and non-tribals.
Reports said schools, houses, churches, vehicles and public properties were set ablaze by protesting mobs in the state.
Photographs and video footage captured during violence showed buildings set on fire, thick black smoke emanating from the streets.
The authorities deployed over 100 columns of the army and paramilitary forces in a bid to put the violence under control.
On Sunday, the army increased its surveillance in violence-affected areas through aerial means such as drones and the deployment of military helicopters.
In addition, a shoot-at-sight order was issued in “extreme cases”.
India’s federal home minister Amit Shah Monday told a local television channel that the situation in Manipur was under control.
Internet services remained suspended in the state and curfew continued to remain in place at various places.
On Monday, the authorities relaxed the curfew at a few places to allow people to purchase daily essentials. Some shops reopened in Imphal and cars were seen plying on roads.
Although life appears to be back to normalcy, locals said the tension remains palpable.
Officials said efforts to recover looted arms and ammunition from police armories were underway. (Xinhua)