Charred cars caught fire in Imphal, Manipur on Friday.  (photo: PTI)

Charred cars caught fire in Imphal, Manipur on Friday. (photo: PTI)

The inclusion of the Meiteis in the ST list meant that they would have the right to purchase land in the hills, which they could not do now. They claimed that they were indigenous and entitled to ST status

The situation in Manipur remains tense even as the Indian army and security forces are engaged in a war to restore peace. The deployment of forces increased, but the military said the situation was now under control. However, reports from the ground said the situation was very vulnerable and things were not going well as the death toll rose to 54, according to officials.

The question is what led to the widespread violence and deaths. News18 presents a 360-degree view of the Manipur violence. Overall, the Meitei community’s claim to scheduled tribe status is the main reason behind the conflict. But if it is analyzed deeply, different aspects will emerge. From the point of view of its geography and poppy cultivation, there are plenty of reasons for the Manipur Massacre.


To understand Manipur’s struggle, it is important to understand the geography of this region. Manipur consists of valley and hills. Imphal is located in the valley with the ninth part of the whole land. But the valley is made up of the majority of the state’s population. Meiteis account for 53 percent of the total population and reside mostly in the valley.

Kuki and Nagas mostly stay in the hills. In terms of land, hills cover a large part of Manipur but the population is less. From time immemorial, hill dwellers have claimed that all development takes place in the valley but not where they reside.

So, the point of other tribes protesting is that when Meiteis are so special anyway, why are they included in the ST category? Their inclusion under this category meant that they would have the right to purchase land in the hills, which they could not do now. However, the Meiteis claimed that they were indigenous and entitled to ST status.

So there is a big gap in development that is happening in the valley as opposed to the hills.


Although estates make up 53 percent of the population, they are mostly confined to the valley. They cannot buy land in the hills and this is also another reason to claim ST status. They took their case in court, and in March, the state was directed to look into this application and take it up with the central government.

Chief Minister N Biren Singh is also from the Mitte community. Thus, other tribes feel that if the Meiteis start buying land in the hills, it will be a problem for them.

Poppy cultivation

The government led by Biren Singh has a strict policy against poppy cultivation and has made efforts to eradicate poppy from the state. Data shows that Manipur leads in destroying the poppy crop. Government sources said that some people crossed the border illegally and tried to grow poppies in dense forests. And the whole country is against this.

Hill residents said they were against poppy cultivation as well, but the government is targeting hill tribes in the name of wiping out poppy cultivation. The government has denied these allegations.

Illegal settlers in the forest area

Illegal settlers on forest lands are a source of concern for the government, especially in the Churachandpur district where the violence began. The sources said that the increase in illegal immigration across the border prompted the state government to conduct identity checks in the hills and forest areas. Hill told People that this house-to-house identity check was to plan and dispose of a particular community.

The ATSUM rally on May 3rd in Churachandpur was supposed to be a peaceful rally. But sources on the ground said that some forces instigated acts of violence that spread like wildfire.

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