A protester holds a placard during a protest in solidarity with the Manipur Christian community in Bangalore, India, 30 May 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/JAGADEESH NV

Minister’s house torched as ethnic violence rages on in northeast India

New Delhi, Jun 16 (EFE).- The house of a junior federal minister was burned down by a mob of over a thousand people in India’s northeastern state of Manipur, where ethnic violence has intensified after it first broke out over a month ago, leaving more than 100 people dead.

The mob attacked the house of Indian minister of state for foreign affairs, RK Ranjan Singh, on Thursday night with Molotov cocktails, triggering a fire, the fire services chief in Manipur’s capital Imphal, Surjit Singh, told EFE.

He added that nobody was wounded in the incident.

Images of the residence show the interiors and furniture completely charred by the fire.

The security forces said that the sheer size of the crowd made it impossible for the guards to stop the assailants from entering the house of Singh, who is currently out of the city travelling.

The attack comes a day after a group of attackers set fire to the house of Manipur’s industries minister Nemcha Kigpen, who was also absent from the residence when the incident took place.

A wave of ethnic violence has engulfed Manipur since early May, when the clashes began after a demonstration by minority tribal communities of the state against the regional High Court advising the inclusion of the dominant group, Meitei, in the list of disadvantaged “scheduled” tribes.

The inclusion would allow the majority and predominantly Hindu community to gain access to quotas in education and government jobs available to disadvantaged groups in India.

This possibility has infuriated the minority tribal communities, including the Kukis, most of whom are Christians.

In an attempt to put an end to hostilities, the government formed a peace committee that includes representatives from different ethnic groups of the state, apart from ministers and public personalities.

However, both Kukis and Meiteis have criticized the composition of the body even as the deteriorating situation in Manipur has led to allegations of attempted ethnic cleansing and calls for a separate state for Kukis.