Manipur, policemen suspended, armoury looting
Over 200 people were killed in the ethnic violence that rocked the northeast state last year. File photo

Manipur violence accounted for 97% of South Asia’s internal displacement in 2023: Report

Report by Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre says 67,000 people were displaced in the ethnic violence in Manipur alone while the total number internal displacement recorded for South Asia was 69,000 in 2023

At least 67,000 people were displaced in the ethnic violence in Manipur, a whopping 97 per cent of the total people displaced in incidents of conflict and violence in South Asia in 2023, a new report has said.

The report by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) termed it the highest number of displacements triggered by conflict and violence in India since 2018. According to the report, in 2023, conflict and violence triggered 69,000 internal displacements in South Asia.

Internal displacement is when people are forced to flee their homes due to conflict, violence or disasters and take refuge elsewhere instead of crossing the internally recognised state border.

Ethnic strife

On May 3, 2023, a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in Manipur's hill districts to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The march led to ethnic clashes between the Meitei and the Kuki communities, ultimately claiming more than 200 lives.

The Manipur High Court had in March last year called for recommendations to be sent to the central government to recognise the Meitei community as a "scheduled tribe," an official status designed to protect minorities from marginalisation.

The call was met with resistance from other local scheduled tribes, including the Kukis.

Land disputes were also an underlying driver of the tensions.

"Protests turned violent in Churachandpur district on May 3, and the violence spread to other districts, including Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Tengnupal, and Kangpokipi, triggering around 67,000 displacements," the report said.

More than three-quarters of the movements took place within Manipur, but almost a fifth were to the neighbouring state of Mizoram and smaller numbers to Nagaland and Assam.

As the violence escalated, the central government imposed curfews, shut down the internet, and dispatched security forces.

It also set up relief camps and established a peace committee for Manipur, chaired by the state governor, but the initiative was hampered by disagreements about its composition.

All of those displaced by the violence were still living in internal displacement at the end of the year, the IDMC noted.

South Asia has 5.3 mn IDP: Report

The IDMC said around 5.3 million people were living in internal displacement as a result of conflict and violence across South Asia at the end of 2023, 80 per cent of whom were in Afghanistan.

Worldwide 75.9 million people were affected by internal displacement – of this 68.3 million were displaced by conflict and violence and 7.7 million by disasters, the report said.

Sudan at 9.1 million accounts for the maximum number of Internally Displaced People (IDP) worldwide following by Syria (7.2 million).

While the number of displacements continue to rise, fresh escalation of conflicts in Sudan and Palestine have forced millions to flee their homes in 2023, the report said.-

Read the full report here:

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