Indian government orders Manipur state chief to ‘work harder’ to end violence


Mumbai (Reuters) – India’s federal government on Sunday ordered the chief minister of Manipur state to “work harder” to restore peace as violence between ethnic groups has not subsided for over 50 days despite a heavy security presence.

“I have been advised by the home minister to work harder towards restoring lasting peace in Manipur,” said N. Biren Singh, chief minister of the northeastern state after he was summoned to New Delhi for talks with Home Minister Amit Shah.

Shah and Singh both belong to the same political party.

At least 80 people have been killed and more than 40,000 forced to flee their homes after clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3 between rival ethnic groups.

Violence between members of the Kuki ethnic group, who mostly live in the hills, and Meiteis, the dominant community in the lowlands, erupted as a result of resentment over economic benefits and quotas in government jobs and education reserved for hill people.

Several rounds of peace talks between the groups have failed and sporadic incidents of violence and arson continue to deepen the crisis in the state governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political party.

Human rights groups say Modi’s government and party have failed to do more to end ethnic tensions.

“I have been asked to further open channels of communication with all the stakeholders so that we are able to bring permanent peace in the state,” Singh said.

Manipur’s government on Sunday extended the state’s internet ban for five more days until June 30.

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