Students Evacuated as Manipur Crisis Intensifies

On Thursday, Manipur’s governor issued shoot-at-sight orders, and the government shut
down all internet services as it battled ethnic violence in the north-eastern state, which saw
mobs torch houses, shops, and religious sites, and even attack a sitting lawmaker in the state
Clashes erupted in Churachandpur town on Wednesday after tribal Kuki groups called for
protests against a proposed change to the state’s reservation matrix that would grant
scheduled tribe (ST) status to the majority Meitei community. The state quickly became
engulfed in violence, displacing thousands of people who fled burning homes and
The crisis began on April 19, when the Manipur high court ordered the state government led
by the Bharatiya Janata Party to submit recommendations to the Union government to
consider including Meiteis on the ST list. Meiteis make up approximately 53% of the state’s
population, are primarily Hindus, and live in the Imphal valley region.
The move alarmed tribal populations, who live in the hill districts and account for roughly
40% of the state’s population. Manipur has 31% reservation in jobs and education for STs.
Thousands of tribal people marched in solidarity in the state’s ten hill districts on Wednesday.
Miscreants set fire to a section of the Anglo-Kuki War Memorial in Churachandpur, sparking
clashes. Retaliatory attacks quickly spread throughout the state.
The All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM), which led the protests and imposed a
shutdown beginning Wednesday, denied allegations that protesters who took part in its
solidarity march on Wednesday were violent. The peaceful solidarity march came to an
end. However, soon after, some people set fire to the Anglo-Kuki War Memorial gate in
Churachandpur. That’s when the violence broke out, said ATSUM president Paotinthang
Even as thousands of army and paramilitary personnel fanned out across the state, marching
through the deserted streets of the state’s violence-hit towns to restore peace and evacuating
at least 9,000 people, the violence continued until late Thursday evening.
Meghalaya has begun evacuating over 200 students from the violent state of Manipur.
Following an increase in violent incidents, the Meghalaya government decided on Thursday
to make plans to evacuate more than 200 students from the state who are studying in
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma stated after chairing an emergency meeting with senior
government officials that the government is closely monitoring the situation in Manipur.
We are in contact with students from various institutes, and we are also making
arrangements as a state government to try to evacuate our students from there so that they can
return safely, he said.
-Mayank Singh

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