Who are Kukis and who are Meiteis in Manipur? Understand in very simple language

These days Manipur is burning in the fire of violence. As seen on social media, two women were stripped naked and sexually assaulted. The widespread anger and reactions across the country were sparked by the underlying cause of the violence.

This violence started between the two communities of Manipur Meitei and Kuki. A few days ago, two women of the Kuki community were paraded naked by the men of the Meitei community. After this anger started showing in the people of the whole country.

Where is Manipur and who lives there?

Manipur is a state in northeastern India. The states of the Northeast of India are also called 7 Sisters. Manipur shares its border with Myanmar. An estimated 33 lakh people live here. More than half of the people of the Meitei community reside, while about 43 percent of the people of the Kuki and Naga communities reside, which are considered to be the major minority tribes.

Who is Meitei and Kuki?

Meitei which is a valley-dominated community and Kuki tribe which is hill dominated community. Meitei has its roots in Manipur, Myanmar, and surrounding areas. The vast majority are Hindus. However, some follow the Sanamahi religion. Kukis, mostly Christians, reside in Northeast India with many having ancestral ties to Myanmar, particularly in Manipur. The Meiteis live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while the Kukis live in the surrounding hills and beyond.

Why is there fighting between the Meitei and Kuki communities?

The Meitei community in Manipur is demanding Schedule Tribe (ST) status like the Kuki community in the state. conflict in Manipur escalated as the Kuki community opposed the Meitei community’s bid for tribal status. The Kukis argued that this would strengthen their influence over government and society, allowing them to purchase land or settle in predominantly Kuki areas. The Kukis say the war on drugs waged by the government led by Meitei is an excuse to uproot their community. Myanmar’s illegal immigration fuels conflict. There is pressure on land use due to the increasing population.

What were the effects of this violent clash?

During the clashes, both communities ransacked and looted several places and police stations for weapons. Hundreds of churches and more than a dozen temples were also vandalized and several villages torched during the violent clashes. Over 130 were killed, 400 were injured, and 60,000 were displaced in ongoing violence. Authorities struggling to contain the situation. And at the same time, women have been raped, and harassed, not only that they have been paraded naked.

Sweta Dagar is an avid reader and writer. She hails from Bulandshahr (U.P) where she completed her formap education. She loves exploring varieties of topics that shape the public opinion at large. If you have any queries, feel free to contact her at [email protected].