News

Two killed after fresh clashes in restive Indian state

By AFP

February 16, 2024 07:10 PM


Two people were shot dead in India's restive northeast when a mob attempted to storm a police building, demanding the reinstatement of an officer who took a selfie with a militia group.

Manipur state on India's border with Myanmar has since last year been riven by ethnic conflict that has claimed the lives of at least 200 people.

The latest incident took place Thursday in Churachandpur district, where police said on social media that a crowd of up to 400 people mobbed the office of the local police superintendent.

A statement from the state's Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) said security forces had shot dead two protesters, with 25 other people seriously injured.

ITLF spokesman Ginza Vualzong had earlier told AFP that three people had died in the violence.

Security personnel responded "appropriately by firing tear gas shells to control the situation," state police said on social media platform X.

Broadcaster NDTV reported that the crowd was demanding the reinstatement of a constable who had been suspended for taking a photo with "armed miscreants".

State authorities also reimposed an internet shutdown in the district for five days, according to a notice issued Friday.

Manipur has been fractured along ethnic lines since the outbreak of violence last May between the predominantly Hindu Meitei majority and the mainly Christian Kuki community.

Rival militias have set up blockades in parts of the state to keep out members of the opposing community.

Longstanding tensions between the two groups have revolved around competition for land and public jobs, with rights activists accusing local leaders of exacerbating ethnic divisions for political gain.

Human Rights Watch has accused state authorities in Manipur, which is governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party, of facilitating the conflict with "divisive policies that promote Hindu majoritarianism".


AFP


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