India: 13 dead in exchanges of fire in Manipur between Christians and Hindus

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At least 13 people have been killed in gunfire in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, according to a state official and local media.

A state official confirmed to AFP on Monday evening that the bodies had been found in the district of Tengnoupal, an area close to the border with Burma.

According to the Times of India on Tuesday, Manipur police confirmed, in a statement, the number of deaths in the latest violence since it broke out in May.

At least 200 people have been killed in Manipur since the start of clashes between Meitei, a predominantly Hindu ethnic majority, and the Kuki tribe, mainly Christian.

A resurgence of violence broke out in May after a protest march against any possibility that the Meitei community would obtain, like the Kuki, the more advantageous status of "scheduled tribe" which would guarantee them quotas for public employment and admissions to the universities.

Since then, the state has fractured along ethnic lines. Rival militias formed and erected barricades to prevent members of the opposing community from entering areas under their control.

Human rights activists say local leaders have exacerbated ethnic divisions for political purposes. 

The organization Human Rights Watch accused the authorities of the state of Manipur, governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party, of fueling the conflict with "divisive policies that favor the Hindu majority".

To find out more on this subject and better understand the violence between the Hindu community and the Christian minorities of Manipur, discover this analysis proposed by the NGO Portes Ouvertes

Writing (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock / Talukdar David

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