Manipur Violence: 200 Evacuated from Jiribam District

Violence in Jiribam: According to PTI, more than 200 members of the Meitei community have been evacuated from their villages in Manipur's Jiribam district and relocated to a newly established relief camp after violence erupted following the reported killing of a man by militants. A police officer posted there told news agencies that the incident began around 12:30 a.m. in Jiribam's Chotobekra, on the banks of the Barak River. Jiribam is 220 kilometres from Imphal, the state capital, and borders Assam. National Highway 37 runs through this area. The hills around the roadway are home to numerous Kuki villages. Using the Barak River to their advantage, the insurgents came on boats and attacked the Police Observation Posts (OPs). 

The alleged insurgents causing fire

What caused ethnic tensions to flare up?

Soibam Saratkumar Singh, 59-year-old, of the Meitei Community, was found dead and mutilated in this area bordering Assam. This neighbourhood has so far remained unscathed by Manipur's ethnic violence, which began in May of last year. Tensions only started to rise in Jiribam after the decomposed body of a 17-year-old teenager from the neighbouring district, Tamenglong was discovered in the region's river. The residents accuse the authorities of failing to take immediate action on the matter.

A Year of Devastations

More than a year has passed since violence erupted in the state of Manipur. As per official records, the yearlong tragedies of murders, sexual harassment, and loss of livelihood have not only resulted in the overall disruption of peace but also claimed the lives of around 224 people. Approximately 60,000 people have been displaced, the majority of whom are currently living in relief camps.

In these 365 days, a Lok Sabha election was held across its two seats, with one of them being the only constituency in India to vote in two stages, indicating how fragile the situation is. Since the ethnic violence started, Manipur has witnessed looting of arms and ammunition from government armouries and police stations. Several attempts have been made at restoring peace including a peace deal that the Centre signed with a faction of the Meitei armed group, the United National Liberation Front (UNLF). However, it was the shortest-lived peace agreement that the Northeast has witnessed.

Peace Prayers at the Wall of Remembrance

According to the Zomi Council Steering Committee (ZCSC) memorandum, independent governance for both villages (Meitei and Zo) appears to be the most realistic and long-term alternative for peace. Both communities have lost a lot in this conflict but we still cannot see a definitive end to it.


Inputs: Agencies

Image Source: Multiple agencies

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