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Ethnic clashes continue in India’s Manipur state despite army presence | News

Authorities have imposed internet blackouts and issued strike orders in “extreme circumstances” to curb violence.

Fresh violence has hit India’s remote northeastern region, local media reported, even as authorities quickly deployed troops to restore order after ethnic clashes.

Thousands of soldiers were sent to Manipur after a protest march by a tribal group turned violent on Wednesday.

Tensions remained tense on Friday night, hours after the state’s top police officer warned that rioters had stolen weapons and ammunition from police stations.

Authorities imposed internet blackouts and issued sight-and-strike orders in “extreme circumstances” to curb unrest.

Hospital mortuaries in the state capital Imphal and further south in Churachandpur district reported a total of 54 deaths.

Between 18 and 20 deaths were reported, Kuldeep Singh, a security adviser to the Manipur state government, told reporters in the state capital Imphal, “although we are still verifying that these deaths were due to recent It was caused by the violence, or it was related to some other incidents.”

“About 100 people were injured and are being treated in different hospitals,” Singh said, adding that more than 500 homes had been burned over the past few days and some vehicles had also been set ablaze.

Manipur Police Commissioner P Doungel said stern action had been ordered against anyone found involved in acts of violence.

“We have asked the military to hold flag marches in areas hit by violence and directed the troops to take stern action against anyone involved in the violence,” Doungel told reporters.

Details of the latest clashes remain scant as internet outages hamper the flow of information from Manipur.

An Indian army stationed in neighboring Nagaland state said 13,000 people had sought refuge amid the violence.

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters in Imphal on Thursday, some of whom set vehicles and houses on fire in parts of the city.

Burnt-out vehicles were seen on otherwise deserted streets due to a 24/7 curfew.

Defense officials said Friday that additional troops have been sent to the state by land and air.

The Meitei, the state’s largest single ethnic group, have been agitating for scheduled tribal status, while other recognized tribes in Manipur have opposed the move.

India reserves some government jobs, university admissions, and elected seats for communities under predetermined tribal categories, from village councils to parliaments, as a form of affirmative action to address historical structural inequalities and discrimination.

Last month, the Manipur High Court asked the government to consider the Meitei community’s plea and make a decision.

Manipur is part of India’s remote north-east connected to the rest of the country by a narrow land corridor that has endured decades of turmoil by ethnic and separatist groups.

At least 50,000 people have been killed in clashes since the first insurgency broke out in Manipur state in the early 1950s.

Over the years, these conflicts have subsided, with many groups striking deals with New Delhi to gain more power.

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