New Delhi has deployed security forces to the state of Manipur in an attempt to quell racial unrest that began earlier this month.
Dozens of rebel fighters have been killed in clashes with security forces in India’s remote northeastern state of Manipur.
The state has been tense since inter-ethnic violence broke out on May 3 between the tribal group and the majority Meite over plans to expand economic quotas to the Metai.
Dozens were killed in the unrest and thousands were displaced.
At least 40 fighters were killed in a crackdown by security forces, Chief Minister N Biren Singh told reporters on Sunday.
He added that two police officers had also been killed during the unrest over the past two days.
“Terrorists have been using M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles and sniper rifles against civilians. They came to many villages and burned houses,” local media quoted Singh as saying.
“We have started a very strong operation against them with the help of the army and other security forces. We have reports that about 40 terrorists were killed,” Singh said.
India’s far-flung northeastern state — sandwiched between Bangladesh, China and Myanmar — has long been a powder keg of tension between different ethnic groups.
New Delhi has sent thousands of paramilitary troops and troops to the state of 3.2 million people. The curfew was imposed after fighting broke out between the mostly Meitei, a mostly Hindu tribe who live in and around the state capital Imphal, and the predominantly Christian Kuki tribe from the surrounding mountains.
Mobile internet has been out in the area for weeks.
Most of the victims are believed to be from the Kuki community, whose villages and churches were destroyed by Meitei mobs. But Emperor Ming also became the target of the Nine Ghosts in some places.
The initial incident that led to the conflict was Kuki’s anger at the prospect of Meitei receiving guaranteed government job quotas and other perks in the form of affirmative action.
It also fueled Kuki’s long-held fear that the Meitei might also be allowed to acquire land in areas currently reserved for them and other tribal groups.