Violence in Manipur is not taking the name of stopping. More than 160 people have lost their lives in the caste violence that broke out in the state since May 3. According to officials of various security agencies monitoring the situation in the state, the violence was fueled largely by rumors and fake news, which worsened the situation in Manipur. The May 4 gruesome incident involving two women being stripped naked in Kangpokpi district was one of a series of sexual assaults that followed a photo of a body wrapped in polythene on social media with the false claim that the victim was murdered by tribals in Churachandpur.
In this regard, an official said that it was later learned that the picture was of a woman murdered in the national capital Delhi, but by that time the violence in the valley had taken a terrible form and what was seen the next day put humanity to shame. The video of the Kangpokpi incident surfaced on social media last week. After this the people of the whole country got angry. On the same day, barely 30 km away, two more women in their 20s were raped and murdered. Officials said that it did not take long for the violence to flare up due to the fake picture. This incident was also one of the reasons for shutting down the internet by the Manipur government on May 3.
internet ban protest
Various parties and a section of activists have opposed the ban on the Internet. Refusing to interfere in the matter, the Supreme Court on July 17 asked the Manipur government to take up its grievances against the High Court’s earlier order on limited restoration of internet in the state with the High Court itself. Analysis of various security agencies involved in quelling the fire of violence in Manipur since May 3 has concluded that there is no control over the fake or one-sided news being circulated by the local newspapers, due to which the situation in Manipur is getting worse. Citing a recent example, he said a leading newspaper had claimed that armed tribals were planning to attack members of the majority community in Kwatha village of Chandel district. The Manipur Police swung into action on the news of the newspaper, but later it was found that the news was false.
Video made viral in Mizo language
The police issued a statement saying that there was no attempt to burn down any village as reported by some local newspapers. The police again appealed that only verified information should be published in sensitive cases. A helpline number was also issued by the police to verify social media or any information and to stop the spread of propaganda. A few days back, another video showing tribal youths marching in Churachandpur went viral in the valley, claiming that the tribals would take away women and children from the majority community. Since the video was in Mizo language, which is the most spoken language in the Kuki-Chin areas, some anti-social elements took advantage and put subtitles in it to stir up anger in the Imphal Valley, where Manipuri Meiteilon is commonly spoken.
Officials said what was actually said in the video was a separate administration related demand that ended with a tribal hymn. Another fake news was being spread and circulated in Imphal valley that some tribals had set Kongba Maru Lifemalen religious place on fire. The security agencies took some people from the majority community with them to show that no harm was done to the religious place. However, armed clashes broke out between the ethnic groups, in which two tribals were injured. After the denial of the news, the matter seemed to calm down.
Attempt to incite violence by accusing tribals of murder
On the other hand, another video went viral in which some of the dead were seen lying on the ground and they were described as members of the majority community and the tribals were accused of murder. This video was also circulated after a shocking 26-second video of the attack on two tribal women surfaced on social media. Officials said the fact remains that those killed in the violence were members of the majority community, who had attempted to burn down a tribal village in the hills and were killed in retaliation. In the initial phase of the violence, a video of a woman being brutally assaulted and finally shot dead was viral with the claim that she was a tribal woman who was harassed by the majority community. In this case, it was immediately clarified that this video was of a woman killed in Tamu city of Myanmar last year and it has nothing to do with the ethnic conflict in Manipur.
It will take a long time for the internet to be fully restored
Earlier this month, a vehicle belonging to the Inspector General of Manipur Police (CID) was set ablaze after rumors spread that some tribals were being taken out of the Imphal Valley to safety. Police took strict action and arrested people in this connection. The majority community protested in the national capital Delhi with a photograph showing a woman from their community being targeted by tribals. Officials said that this picture was of a woman from Arunachal Pradesh, who was a victim of abuse in her area. Officials believe that due to continuous activity of rumor mongers, it will take a long time to restore internet completely in the state. A senior official said that some semblance of peace should be visible. We are still a long way from it.
Anger across the country after the video went viral
It may be noted that after the video of two women being paraded naked in Manipur surfaced on Wednesday, there is an atmosphere of tension in the hilly region of the state. This video is of May 4, which is now going viral on social media, after seeing which the people of the country are angry. More than 160 people have died in the caste violence that broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organized in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the demand of the majority Meitei community for granting them Scheduled Tribe status.
53% Meitei population in Manipur
Let us discuss here that there are 16 districts in Manipur. The land of the state is divided into Imphal valley and hilly districts. Imphal valley is dominated by Meitei. Where the people of Meitai caste belong to the Hindu community. On the other hand, the dominance of Naga and Kuki tribes is seen in the hilly districts. More violence was seen in Churachandpur hilly districts. The people living here are Kuki and Naga Christians. Please tell that the dominance of the Kuki caste is visible in the four hilly districts. The population of Manipur is about 28 lakhs. In this, the people of Meitei community are about 53 percent. About 10% of the land area of Manipur is in possession of these people. These people are mainly settled in the Imphal Valley. The Kuki ethnic group is opposing the Scheduled Tribe status to the Meitei community.
Six arrested so far in viral video case
In the case, the Manipur police on Saturday arrested two people, including a juvenile, in the case of parading two women naked in the state’s Kangpokpi district on May 4. So far six people have been arrested in this case. These also include the person whom in the public video B. Phenom was seen dragging a woman in the village. Police said that by raiding several suspected hideouts, all possible efforts are being made to arrest the remaining criminals.
with language input