Over the course of a harrowing four months in India's sensitive border state of Manipur, the once-coexisting communities of Meitei and Kuki have descended into a state of irreparable enmity. The violence erupted on May 3 and continues.
By Yaqut Ali
File photo of violence in Manipur. Photo: Twitter@MangteC
New Delhi: It has been four months since violence erupted between the Kuki and Meitei communities in Manipur, which claimed the lives of around 200 people and left more than 70,000 people displaced.
The violence has resulted in extensive damage to religious institutions, long hours of digital blackout and overcrowded relief camps, but a lack of effective government response.
The Wire has compiled data from various sources to provide a concise overview of the crisis.
Duration of internet shutdown since May 3: 3,050+ hours
A digital blackout lasting over 3,050 hours has severely disrupted information sharing, education and online classes.
The number of lives lost: 200+ in the past 4 months
According to reports, more than 200 people have died, out of which 45 deaths occurred due to lack of medical care in Churachandpur and Kangpokpi.
The number of people forcibly displaced due to the violence: 70,000+
At least 10,000 children have been staying in relief camps. These relief camps are overcrowded and are experiencing food shortages, as most people are heavily reliant on rice and lentils. They need volunteer help.
For instance, a relief camp in Naorem Birahari College houses more than 300 people. The government provides them with 400 grams of food daily, which is insufficient.
Moreover, although the government has promised to provide temporary houses to the displaced people, only a few have been built.
Long summer vacations for three months
The continuing violence has extended summer vacations to three months. On June 1, Union home minister Amit Shah had promised to formulate a plan for online education; however, it is still to be seen when these promises will be fulfilled.
Nearly 50 students of NIT Manipur had been demanding that classes be held online and also raised this issue with their dean, but didn’t get any response from him.
The number of arms looted from police armouries: 4,000+
The number of active gun licences: 35,117 (the highest in the Northeast region)
A Right to Information query by The Wire revealed that firearm licenses under the N. Biren Singh government were the maximum issued in the Northeast region, before the violence began. The active number of gun licences stand at 35,117, up from 26,836 in December 2016.
The number of churches destroyed: 500+
Government data shows that over 220 churches have been destroyed. If we take United Christian Forum’s data, it exceeds 500.
Christian bodies claim that over 350 churches were destroyed. Notably, there were no church attacks in Manipur before the May 2023 violence. A petition claims that 642 places of worship were demolished.
PM Modi broke silence after 78 days
The prime minister spoke about the Manipur violence on July 20, 2023, for only 36 seconds, after a shocking video of naked women being paraded by a mob went viral. The video raised numerous questions regarding the impact of the violence on women and the role of the police.
The number of rallies held in Karnataka campaign amid Manipur violence: 19
While campaigning in Karnataka, Prime Minister Modi held 19 rallies and six road shows. The last rally was held on May 8, 2023. Meanwhile, in Manipur, chief minister Biren Singh informed the media that 60 people died, 231 were injured, and 1,700 houses were burned.
The number of Zero FIRs: 11,414
There have been 11,414 Zero FIRs, out of which 6,621 were converted to regular FIRs, and 4,766 were original FIRs filed within their original jurisdiction.
The cases of property destruction: 4,694
At least 4,694 cases of property destruction have been reported during the ethnic violence in the state.
The duration of the one-day Manipur session: 11 minutes
The one-day session of the Manipur assembly lasted just 11 minutes on August 29, 2023. The state’s 10 Kuki MLAs, including two cabinet ministers, did not attend the session.
The number of Kuki families in the state’s capital, Imphal: 0
No Kuki families are currently living in the state capital, Imphal.
After the violence escalated, Kuki families left Imphal, and Meitei families left Churachandpur. However, a few Kuki families still residing in Imphal’s New Lambulane area were forcefully evacuated by the central and state forces on the night of September 2, 2023.
The number of governments in Manipur: 2
The BJP argues that the concept of “double-engine” involves having two engines or two governments, one at the state level and one at the capital, to aid in the governance process.
© The Wire 2023