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Violence Escalates in Manipur, India: Three Dead and Numerous Injured in Ongoing Clashes

Since the eruption of conflicts last May between the Meitei community and the Kuki group in Manipur, India’s northeastern state, the region has been marred by ongoing unrest and violence. In the latest bout of clashes late on Thursday, at least three individuals lost their lives, and many others sustained injuries in the Churachandpur district.

According to a police official familiar with the situation, the death toll has now reached close to 200 since the commencement of intense confrontations between the Meitei community and the minority Kuki group. These clashes, deeply rooted in disputes over the distribution of economic benefits and tribal quotas, have caused widespread displacement, with thousands seeking refuge in relief camps.

Churachandpur, a hotspot for tensions, has been at the forefront of ethnic violence since the onset of the conflicts last May. The recent escalation stemmed from the suspension of a Kuki constable by district police authorities following the circulation of purported images showing him alongside armed individuals on social media.

Around 400 people gathered outside the district police chief’s office in protest, demanding the withdrawal of the suspension order. The situation spiraled out of control as the mob attacked the complex housing the police chief and district administration offices, resulting in the torching of vehicles and the deputy commissioner’s official residence.

In attempts to quell the unrest, security forces initially used tear gas, but the situation escalated, leading to the deployment of lethal force. Approximately 25 individuals sustained injuries and are currently undergoing treatment at local hospitals.

In response to the escalating tensions, authorities have imposed a five-day suspension of mobile internet services in Churachandpur. Additionally, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), representing various tribal groups, issued a stern warning to district police chief Shivanand Surve, demanding his removal from Churachandpur within the next 24 hours.

As Manipur grapples with persistent violence and unrest, efforts to restore peace and address the underlying grievances of the communities remain paramount for the authorities and stakeholders involved.

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