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Manipur Violence Tough Road For India

The northeastern Indian state of Manipur shares borders with Myanmar to the east and south. The Imphal Valley, which makes up about 10% of the region and is in the center, has a population of 57% who are primarily Meitei and, to a lesser extent, Pangal. Hills surround the valley, making up 90% of the area and 43% of the population. The Naga dominate the northern regions, while the Kuki dominate the southern districts. Scheduled Tribe (ST) designation grants the Naga and Kuki peoples specific rights, whereas elements of the Meitei are most often given Scheduled Caste (SC) rights.

By prohibiting the transfer of tribal property holdings to non-tribal land holdings, the Manipur and Property Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960, prevented the Meitei and other groups from moving into the hill districts; nevertheless, this is balanced by the non-tribal groups wielding political influence. The Meiteis have historically controlled the state and state apparatuses. Of the 60 Assembly constituencies, 19 are reserved for ST and the rest are unreserved; of the remaining 41, 40 are in the Imphal valley and of these 39 had returned Meitei members in the past election.

2023 - Violence Manipur

The ethnoreligious conflict between the Kuki tribal group from the nearby hills and the Meitei people, who make up the majority and reside in the Imphal Valley, broke out on May 3, 2023, in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur. 181 individuals have died as a result of the violence as of July 29. More than 300 people were hurt, and over 54,488 people were evacuated. A High Court had mandated on April 14, 2023, in response to a writ petition filed by the Metei Tribe Union, that the state government suggests that the Meitei population in the valley be given Scheduled Tribe status.

Manipur High Court received criticism from the Indian Supreme Court for its factually wrong ruling. The All Tribal Students' Union Manipur that a peaceful demonstration be held on May 3 in opposition to the High Court judgment. Meitei organizations responded by staging a demonstration the day before on the afternoon of May 2, blocking all access roads to the Kuki villages.

The Anglo-Kuki Centenary Gate was set on fire by unidentified miscreants while the peaceful All Tribal Students demonstration was in progress. One of these demonstrations resulted in a fight between the marchers and a crowd of residents in an area near the Bishnupur district, which was followed by house burning. For instance, it has been claimed that the Kuki people, who predominately live in the hilly areas surrounding the capital valley, are the target of the state government's treatment of indigenous land rights issues.

The Christian faith predominates among the Kuki people. As a result of attempts to survey forests, which were purportedly intended to stop the production of poppies, there have been evictions in Kuki settlements. The influx of refugees after the military coup in nearby Myanmar in 2021 has also led to an increase in insecurity among the Meitei Indigenous people, notably those from the Sagaing region. In the ongoing conflict, numerous ethnic communities' identities have been weaponized.

Numerous organizations claim that there have been reports of partisan killings by security personnel as well as claims that the police have sided with the Meitei people. The violence will be investigated by a commission headed by a retired Chief Justice, and a peace committee will be formed under the direction of the Governor and security advisor Kuldeep Singh, as well as members of civil society. Six instances including a conspiracy in the violence will be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), ensuring a fair investigation to identify the underlying factors.

Video Going Viral Of Bare Kuki Women

A video of two Kuki women, one in her forties and the other in her twenties, being stripped, paraded naked on the streets, slapped, and sexually assaulted by men-likely Meitei men-went viral on July 19. When the women attempted to escape mob violence, the police station was forcibly evacuated.

One of the victims' father and a victim's teenage brother were killed by the mob while attempting to defend the victim, who was allegedly gang-raped. Despite the complaint being filed, the police did nothing for more than two months before the video surfaced. The police have been accused by the Kuki community of supporting the Meitei community.

The footage was released more than two months after the incident because Manipur's internet was shut off. Within hours of the video's release, the Supreme Court issued a statement warning that if the government failed to take action, the court will step in. The National Commission of Women (NCW) chairperson claimed that despite sending the complaint to Manipur authorities three times, she never received a response. This was in response to media reports that claimed the NCW was aware of the incident because they had received a complaint in June.

The Supreme Court's actions
On July 31, the supreme court ordered the Manipur administration to furnish a detailed breakdown of the over 6000 first linked to the state's unrest. the court also expressed outrage upon discovering that it took the police 14 days to even file a zero fir in the matter of two ladies who were displayed in public while naked and subjected to sexual abuse. the supreme court referred to the police investigations as "tardy" at the hearing on August 1 and stated that there had been an "absolute breakdown of the constitutional machinery" in the state.

The controversial armed forces special powers act of 1958 needs to be abolished to improve the region's human rights situation. The government should ensure that the legal system is fair and open to prevent security forces from abusing their position of power. to curb the flood of migrants from Myanmar, there is a need to step up monitoring in the border regions.

By strengthening cooperation with neighboring countries on the diplomatic and economic fronts, regional stability and security can be increased. several committee reports, including those from the Lokur Committee (1965) and the Bhuria Commission (2004), should be carefully analyzed to determine the criterion for designation for Meiteis.

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