Over 50 dead, hundreds hospitalized by ethnic violence in India's Manipur

At least 55 people are dead in ethnic violence in the Indian state of Manipur, according to hospitals in the city of Imphal.

Over 50 dead, hundreds hospitalized by ethnic violence in India's Manipur


According to hospitals in Imphal, at least 55 people have died in ethnic violence in Manipur.

Hospital officials told CNN that 260 more people were hospitalized after violence erupted between ethnic Kukis and Meiteis earlier in the week.

Two groups are fighting in Imphal, India's eastern state.

According to officials from Imphal hospitals, the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences Churachandpur District Hospital, gunshot wounds are among the most common injuries.

CNN reported that "most of the patients come in with severe bullet wounds or have been hit with lathis (sticks) in the head," said Dr Manghatzow, Churachandpur District Hospital's Director.

Local television broadcasted video and photos of burning vehicles and buildings, and thick black smoke rising from the streets.

Indian army soldiers have been deployed on the streets, and there is a mobile internet blackout of five days.

CNN contacted the Indian Army and the Manipur state government on Sunday, but received no response.

Anusuiya UIkey, the governor of the state, issued orders to "shoot at sight" in order to control the situation.

Orders were only issued in "extreme situations" where all other means of persuasion (warnings, etc.) had failed. The statement said that "all forms of persuasion, warning, reasonable force etc. had been exhausted".

On Tuesday, skirmishes broke out after thousands of tribals took part in an All Tribal Students Union of Manipur rally against the inclusion of India's "Scheduled Tribes" grouping. The rally was organized to protest the possible inclusion of the majority Meitei group of the state in the Indian grouping.

Since years, the Meitei, who represent about half of the population in the state, have been campaigning to be recognized by the government as a Scheduled Tribe, which would allow them to access to broader benefits, including health care, education, and government jobs.

The Scheduled Tribes of India are one of the most economically disadvantaged groups and historically have been denied education and employment opportunities.

Other tribal groups fear that if the Meitei are granted scheduled tribe status they won't have an equal chance to get jobs and receive other benefits.

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