Asian News Makers
India Insight

Violent clashes in Manipur led to 97% of total displacement in South Asia”: IDMC Report

Conflict and violence erupted in South Asia in 2023, resulting in a staggering 69,000 displacements, with Manipur bearing the brunt of the crisis, according to a recent report by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). The report highlighted the highest number of displacements triggered by conflict and violence in India since 2018.

On May 3, 2023, a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ organized in Manipur’s hill districts escalated into ethnic clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities, claiming over 200 lives. The march was a response to the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, which was met with resistance from other local scheduled tribes, including the Kukis. The Manipur High Court’s call for recommendations to recognize the Meitei community as a “scheduled tribe” further fueled tensions, exacerbated by underlying land disputes.

Protests turned violent in Churachandpur district, spreading to other districts like Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Tengnupal, and Kangpokipi, triggering approximately 67,000 displacements, mostly within Manipur. However, a significant number sought refuge in the neighboring state of Mizoram, with smaller movements to Nagaland and Assam.


Government Response and Ongoing Challenges

As violence escalated, the central government intervened by imposing curfews, shutting down the internet, and deploying security forces. Relief camps were set up, and a peace committee for Manipur was established, chaired by the state governor. However, the initiative faced obstacles due to disagreements over its composition.

Despite government efforts, all those displaced by the violence remained in internal displacement by the year’s end, as noted by the IDMC.


Regional Crisis in South Asia

The IDMC’s report highlighted a broader crisis across South Asia, with approximately 5.3 million people living in internal displacement due to conflict and violence by the end of 2023. Afghanistan accounted for 80% of these displacements, underscoring the magnitude of the issue in the region.

The situation in Manipur serves as a stark reminder of the complex interplay between ethnic tensions, socio-political demands, and underlying grievances over land rights. As communities continue to grapple with the aftermath of violence, sustainable solutions and inclusive dialogue remain crucial to address the root causes of conflict and prevent further displacement.

The displacement crisis in Manipur underscores the urgent need for sustainable solutions and inclusive dialogue to address the root causes of conflict. As communities continue to reel from the aftermath of violence, it is imperative for all stakeholders, including the government, local authorities, and community leaders, to prioritize peace-building efforts and foster reconciliation.

Recognizing and respecting the rights and identities of all ethnic groups is essential for fostering a harmonious and inclusive society. With concerted efforts and a commitment to dialogue, Manipur and other conflict-affected regions in South Asia can chart a path towards lasting peace, stability, and prosperity for all its inhabitants.

Related posts