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Manipur Violence 

Manipur Violence

Violence between Manipur’s Kuki tribe and the majority Meitei community continued to rage in several parts of Manipur for many days.

Reasons Behind The Violence In Manipur

  • Manipur was boiling since February 2023
    • Manipur has been restive since February when the state government launched an eviction drive seen as targeting a specific tribal group.
    • The drive led to protests but not on the scale of the one seen recently.
  • High Court’s order as a trigger point
    • The recent protests were triggered by the Manipur High Court’s direction to the State to pursue a 10-year-old recommendation to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the non-tribal Meitei community.
    • The Court’s order has brought the historical tensions between the valley-dwelling Meitei community and the state’s hill tribes to a boil.
  • Violence started
    • A ‘tribal solidarity march’ was organised by the All-Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) against the order of the High Court.
    • Violent clashes broke out at various places in Manipur during the course of this march.

Meitei Community Wants ST Status

  • There has been an organised push in support of this demand since 2012, led by the Scheduled Tribes Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM).
  • Recognised as tribe before merger with India
    • In their plea before the High Court, it was argued that the Meitei community was recognized as a tribe before the merger of the princely state of Manipur with the Union of India in 1949.
    • It lost its identity as a tribe after the merger.
  • Need to preserve tradition and culture
    • The demand for ST status arose from the need to preserve the community, and save the ancestral land, tradition, culture and language of the Meiteis.
    • As per the arguments forwarded by the community in the court:
      • The community has been victimised without any constitutional safeguards to date.
      • The Meitein/Meetei have been gradually marginalised in their ancestral land.
      • Their population which was 59% of the total population of Manipur in 1951 has now been reduced to 44% as per 2011 Census data.

Major Communities residing in Manipur

Tribal Groups Opposing ST Status for Meiteis

  • The tribal groups say the Meiteis have a demographic and political advantage besides being more advanced than them academically and in other aspects.
    • The Meiteis are a dominant group controlling the state and its apparatuses.
    • Hence, the claim that Meiteis need ST status to protect their culture and identity is self-defeating.
  • They feel the ST status to the Meiteis would lead to loss of job opportunities and allow them to acquire land in the hills and push the tribals out.
  • The Manipuri language of the Meiteis is included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Sections of the Meitei community — which are predominantly Hindu — are already classified under Scheduled Castes (SC) or Other Backward Classes (OBC).


Recently, Manipur’s 10 Kuki-Zomi MLAs demanded a separate administration under the Constitution.



  • The KSDC claimed 12,958 sq km, more than 60% of Manipur’s 22,000 sq km area, for Kukis and Kukiland.
  • The territory of Kukiland included:
    • the Sadar Hills (which surround the Imphal valley on three sides),
    • the Kuki-dominated Churachandpur district, Chandel, which has a mix of Kuki and Naga populations, and
    • parts of Naga-dominated Tamenglong and Ukhrul.
  • Unlike the Naga demand for a separate country, Kukis are only seeking a separate state within the Indian Union.

With the situation worsening in violence-hit Manipur, the state government had authorised all District Magistrates to issue shoot at sight orders in extreme cases.

Legal Provisions Allowing Issuance Of Shoot-At-Sight Orders
  • CrPC, 1973
    • Such orders may be passed under the statutory powers related to the arrest or prevention of offences or for disbanding unlawful assemblies under Sections 41-60 and Sections 149-152 of the CrPC, 1973.
      • Section 46 (2) of the CrPC enables the use of force in the course of arresting a person.
    • Section 144 of the CrPC enables the use of wide powers while dealing with urgent cases of apprehended danger or nuisance through the issuance of orders.
      • The executive usually relies on the powers conferred on it by Section 144 to issue shoot-at-sight orders.
  • Section 3(a) of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958
    • It empowers the armed forces to use force in “disturbed areas”.
  • Provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860
    • E.g., Section 81 and Section 76 of the IPC.

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