India: internet cut again in the state of Manipur, after protests

India reimposed an internet shutdown on the evening of Tuesday (September 26th) in Manipur due to violent protests that erupted after photos of the bodies of two students who died in a months-long inter-ethnic conflict were posted on social media, officials said.

Riot police fired smoke shells to disperse protesters protesting the arrest of five people, who police said were carrying weapons while wearing camouflage uniforms, in Imphal, Manipur state, India, September 18, 2023. © Stringer / Reuters

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Since armed clashes erupted in May between the Hindu majority Meitei and the predominantly Christian Kuki tribe, more than 150 people have been killed in the remote northeastern state. The internet had been shut down for nearly five months in the state, before being restored last week.

But on the evening of Tuesday, September 26, the internet was shut down again after dozens of people were injured in violent protests in the state capital, Imphal. The shutdown serves to curb "the spread of disinformation, false rumors and other types of violent activity through social media platforms," a government order said.

Police fired tear gas on Tuesday (September 26th) to disperse hundreds of angry students protesting over the posting on social media of photographs of the bodies of a 17-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man, members of the Meitei community, local media reported. The two young men had disappeared in July. Biren Singh, the state's chief minister, said late Tuesday that officers were investigating their deaths.

Manipur, transformed into a "battlefield", according to the opposition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticised for his administration's failure to end violence in the state, which is governed by his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party. Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the opposition Congress party, accused Wednesday (September 27th) on platform X (ex-Twitter) the ruling party of turning Manipur "into a battlefield".

For 147 days, people of Manipur are suffering, but PM Modi does not have time to visit the state.

The horrific images of students being targeted in this violence has once again shocked the entire nation.

It is now apparent that violence against women and children was weaponised...

— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) September 27, 2023

Human Rights Watch accused the Manipur authorities of facilitating the conflict with "divisive policies that promote Hindu majoritarianism."


With AFP)

INTERNATIONAL REPORT – India: ethnic violence in the Manipur region

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