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Death toll in Manipur violence rises to 8, Churachandpur Police station burnt down by protesters

Sources close to the protesters say that they were angry with the lawmakers for voting in favour of the bills passed in Manipur Assembly.

Meenakshi Upreti | News18

Updated:September 1, 2015, 9:59 PM IST
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Death toll in Manipur violence rises to 8, Churachandpur Police station burnt down by protesters
Sources close to the protesters say that they were angry with the lawmakers for voting in favour of the bills passed in Manipur Assembly.

At least eight people were killed and several others injured after violence erupted in Manipur's Churachandpur district on Monday evening over three bills passed in the state assembly.

Churachandpur Police station was also burnt down by protesters on Tuesday.

Houses of Manipur's health minister Phungzathang Tonsing and five other MLAs were set on fire during the protests. Though sources maintain minister and the MLAs are all safe.

Sources close to the protesters say that they were angry with the lawmakers for voting in favour of the bills passed in Manipur Assembly.

Groups had opposed the passing of three bills in the assembly on Monday. The main objection, according to groups leading the protest, is to passage of an amendment bill called Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reform Act (7th Amendment Bill 2015).

According to the students groups who called the strike, this amendment will make tribal areas, currently off limits to non-tribals, accessible to all. They believe it will lead to tribals - the Nagas and the Kukis - losing their land.

One of the clauses in the bills set 1951 as the base year to identify non-indigenous. As per the new law those who settled in Manipur before 1951 can have property rights. The rest will have to give up.

One of the basic bone of contention for the protestors is that most people living in the hill areas, particularly the Kuki tribe, share ethnic bonds with neighbouring Myanmar and don't have exact records of when they settled in these parts. So a cut off date of 1951 makes their position vulnerable.

The supporters of inner line permit mostly Meiteis who live in the valley, want a system similar to Nagaland where the entry of non-Nagas are is strictly regulated.

Some of the Kuki organisations like All Tribal Students Union of Manipur had previously given memorandums to the various stakeholders of the Manipur administration but claims that their perspective has been ignored.

While the security forces have begun conducting flag marches, what the passage of this bill has that it has virtually ensured another round of protests in the valley. Kukis and other tribe feel that this bill might be used to victimise them.

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