Assam Rifles report: Manipur’s BJP CM incites violence, fuels conflict in India – India Election 2024


In Kangpokpi/Imphal, India, a makeshift bunker with piles of gunny bags and a tin roof provided a calm refuge for 19-year-old Chonminlal Kipgen and 26-year-old Paolal Kipgen on Christmas Eve. Armed with single-barrelled rifles, they scanned the hills of Kangpokpi district for rival Meitei fighters as village volunteers defending their homes.

Similar muted celebrations were seen in Imphal during the Ningol Chakouba festival, highlighting the ongoing conflict between the Christian Kuki-Zo and Hindu Meitei communities in Manipur. This conflict, which has killed 219 people and displaced 60,000, has sparked a resurgence of armed groups recruiting men and boys from both communities.

An assessment by Assam Rifles officials pointed to unique factors fueling the conflict, including political authoritarianism and ambition of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, demands for a national register of citizens, and calls for a separate Kukiland. The conflict also involves armed groups equipping civilians and supporting village volunteers, intensifying tensions despite efforts to frame it as a self-defence situation.

The Assam Rifles’ presentation laid out the phases of the conflict – initiation, mutation, and stalemate – and highlighted the changing nature of violence between the communities. Despite federal intervention and attempts to establish a buffer zone, the conflict persists in rural areas where armed groups from both sides continue recruiting and training young people.

As the conflict drags on, the impact on the communities is evident, with families fearing for their safety and the cycle of violence threatening to escalate. The forthcoming elections in Manipur raise concerns about the role of politics, armed groups, and the drug trade in perpetuating the conflict.

The second part of the series will delve into these aspects, shedding light on the complexities of the situation in Manipur.


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