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Inter-ethnic clashes in northeast India leave 54 dead

Inter-ethnic clashes have shaken the Indian state of Manipur, in the northeast of the country, since Wednesday and have left 54 ​​dead, according to a report relayed on Saturday by the Indian news agency PTI. The situation in this state bordering Burma degenerated on Wednesday during a demonstration by tribal communities protesting against the request of the Meiteis, the majority ethnic group in Manipur, to benefit from positive discrimination measures.

Hundreds of Indian soldiers were sent on Thursday with the order to shoot on sight “in extreme cases” to try to restore calm. Authorities also cut internet access and imposed a curfew. The situation remained tense on Saturday after further violence on Friday evening, police authorities said. An initial assessment of the clashes on Thursday reported six dead, but the Indian agency PTI counted 54 on Saturday based on data collected from local morgues.

No official toll has yet been made public by local authorities or security forces, but Indian Law Minister Kiren Rijiju told reporters on Saturday that “many lives had been lost” in the wake of the unrest. . On Thursday, security forces used tear gas in Imphal, the state capital, to disperse protesters, some of whom set fire to cars and homes.

Located in northeast India, the remote state of Manipur has for decades experienced tensions involving ethnic and separatist groups. The region is thus home to dozens of tribal groups and guerrilla movements whose demands range from greater autonomy to outright secession from the rest of India. At least 50,000 people were killed in the various conflicts that followed the first uprising in Manipur state in the early 1950s.

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