Protesters set fire to the home of an Indian union minister in the state of Manipur, which has been the scene of clashes between two rival ethnic groups for more than a month, according to Indian officials.
The office of Minister of State for External Affairs RK Ranjan Singh confirmed that a mob destroyed and set fire to the minister’s house in Imphal, the capital of Manipur state.
“Fortunately, none of the care staff or family members were harmed in the attack on the house,” said an official in New Delhi.
It is noteworthy that the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the one that governs the northeastern state of Manipur.
The attack comes after weeks of violent clashes between members of the majority-Christian Koki ethnic group, who live mostly in the hills, and the Hindu-majority Mitte ethnic group, who live mostly in the plains of the state.
Clashes between the two groups flared up last month due to dissatisfaction with the Kuki group’s economic benefits and quota system, which allows its members easy access to government jobs and educational opportunities.
Kuki’s group also fears that the Mitte will be allowed to acquire land in areas currently reserved for them and other tribal groups.
The Mitte group constitutes half of the state’s population, and if its percentage increases – according to the quota system – this means that it will have more educational opportunities and government jobs allocated to the Kuki community.
The latest records of the Federal Ministry of the Interior showed that 83 people had died, and more than 60,000 residents had been displaced since May by the violence.
Civil society organizations from the Mitte and Koki communities said that hundreds of members of the two communities have been injured and displaced.
A curfew and internet shutdown remain in effect in most areas of Manipur, where tens of thousands of soldiers were sent to control the violence last May.
The visit of the Indian Home Minister did not calm the situation in the state, as he visited the state this month and demanded the return of assault rifles that were seized from police stations when the violence began.