Three people have been killed and over 14 injured after violence erupted in Manipur’s Churachandpur district. Houses of a Minister, one MP and three MLAs were also set on fire by the protesters. An indefinite curfew has been imposed in the area.
The agitation was against the passage of inner line permit system bill. The bill would allow non-tribals to acquire land of the tribals, potentially causing Nagas and Kukis to lose their land.
The lawmakers were targeted because none of them objected to the bills and allowed them to be passed, sources said. Their houses were set on fire and the mob prevented the police and fire engines from reaching the area. The minister and the lawmakers were reported to be safe.
Reports say the vehicle of Churachandpur Deputy Commissioner and his escort have also been torched.
The main objection according to the protesters was to the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reform Act (7th Amendment Bill 2015).
As per the new law, those who settled in Manipur before 1951 can have property rights. The rest will have to give away property rights and may even be asked to leave. Protesters say most people living in the hill areas particularly the Kuki tribe share an ethnic bond with neighboring Myanmar and don’t have exact records of when they settled here and hence ‘cannot come with any proofs of the same.’
Manipur has been witnessing violent agitations over the last three years for the implementation of the Inner Line Permit System.
The agitation is based on a belief that an influx of outsiders into the state has taken away jobs, and land from the indigenous people, unlike in states like neighbouring Nagaland, where the entry of outsiders is strictly regulated.