In India’s tense Manipur, ethnic battles have killed more than 50 people.
After another night of violence, the number of people killed in ethnic fighting between tribal groups in India’s remote northeastern state of Manipur has risen to 54. The armed forces of the country are struggling to keep law and order.
After unrest broke out during a protest by a tribal group on Wednesday, thousands of troops were sent to the state of Manipur.
Internet was shut down, and police were given orders to shoot on sight, but only in “extreme cases” to get the fighting groups to stop fighting.
Local police told AFP that there is a tense calm after a fight on Friday night, and The Press Trust of India said that 54 bodies have been found in hospital morgues in the state capital Imphal and in the Churachandpur area further south.
An unknown local official told PTI that 16 bodies were in the morgue of the Churachandpur district hospital and 15 bodies were in the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in the Imphal East district.
“23 people were dead, according to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences at Lamphel in the Imphal West district.”
Manipur’s Director General of Police, P. Doungel, told media on Friday that the situation was being brought under control by security forces.
He said that army troops had “done a lot” to stop the problem.
Security troops and the government of Manipur haven’t said how many people died in the violence this week.
But India’s law minister, Kiren Rijiju, told reporters today that after days of fighting, “many lives have been lost” and property has been damaged.
The shutdown of the internet in Manipur has made it harder for news to get out, and the situation on the ground after the latest fights on Friday is still unclear.
An Indian army unit in the nearby state of Nagaland said that 13,000 people were hiding from the violence “in military premises.”
On Thursday, security forces in Imphal used tear gas to get rid of protesters. Some of the protesters had set cars and homes on fire in different parts of the city.
Because of a 24-hour curfew, there were burned cars on streets that were otherwise empty.
Friday, defense officials said that more troops had been sent to the state by road and by air.