MANIPUR BURNING: What led to protests in the state? | KEY POINTS EXPLAINED

Manipur Conflict Key Insights:

There have been violent communal clashes in Manipur due to the Manipur High Court (HC) directing the State to pursue a 10-year-old recommendation to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the non-tribal Meitei community. The clash erupted as the All-Tribal Student Union Manipur (ATSUM) organized a "tribal solidarity rally" against the move to include the Meiteis on the ST list.



The Meitei people represent around 53% of the population of Manipur state residing in the valley which account for 10% of the geographical landmass of the state, followed by various Naga ethnic groups at 24% and various Kuki/Zomi tribes (also known as Chin-Kuki-Mizo people) at 16% who resides in the hills and low lying mountain slopes which comprises rest of the landmass of the state. Manipur's ethnic groups practice a variety of religions. Hinduism and Christianity are the major religions of the state.


What sparked the voilence?

  • The Meitei community demanded the state should grant the people ST status so as to  preserve the community and save their ancestral land, tradition, culture and language.
  • The Meiteis need constitutional safeguards against outsiders, stating that the community has been kept away from the hills while the tribal people can buy land in the “shrinking” Imphal Valley.


  • The high court through its impugned order, had directed the state government to consider the inclusion of Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribes list. This embarked on the onset of violence in the valley, as the tribals came forward to demonstrate a protest against this decision of the court.


  • The tribals (Naga/Kuki) argued Meitei already had geographical and political advantages, granting ST status to the Meiteis would result in the loss of employment opportunities and would also allow Meiteis to acquire land in the hills which would ultimately push the tribals out.



  • The degree of uproar has risen to such a level that the Manipur government has authorized all District Magistrates to issue “shoot at sight orders” in “extreme cases” in order to control the situation.
  • Till now hundreds have been injured and many lost their lives due to the continous protest the state is in critical unrest, immediate actions needs to be taken into consideration so as to bring back the situations to normal.  
  • The government has to intervene and resolve the matters as soon as possible and find a way out with settling the disagreements between the communities, strengthening the border surveillance and repealing the AFSPA from the state and ensuring law and order prevails within the state and all the ethnicities are given equal participation.


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