Washington: There is no evidence of religion-based violence in Manipur, a US-based India-centric think tank has said in a report, listing historical baggage, inter-tribes distrust, fear of economic impacts, drugs and insurgency among the factors responsible.
In a report released this week, the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) said that “some even alleged that a foreign interference cannot be ruled out”.
The FIIDS said both the state government of Manipur and the government of India have deployed all their resources to establish peace and provide relief to those affected.
“In summary, the violence has historical baggage, inter tribes distrust, fear of economic impacts, drugs and insurgency as factors. However, it is important to note that, although religious polarization exists among the tribes, we did not find evidence of religious violence. Instead, it is based on an ethnic divide and historical distrust and rivalry between the tribes,” said the report.
“Various dormant insurgency/extremist groups took advantage to revive themselves with gun violence. This was further fueled by funds and arms from drug mafias who grow opium and process heroin for export through Myanmar. Some even alleged that a foreign interference cannot be ruled out,” the agency said in a press release issued Thursday.
While the violence and protests have calmed down in the recent weeks, the underlying distrust still exists, and displaced people are not yet comfortable to return to their origins, they said in the release.
Further steps, such as discussions, negotiations, major trust-building exercises, and help to rebuild their lives, are necessary to carry forward, it said.
The details of the report were analysed during a recent panel discussion by Spandan Gandhi, Shaunak Kelkar, Isha Gadkari headed by FIIDS Policy and Strategy Director, Khanderao Kand had researched and analyzed the facts published in the report.This event was participated by community leaders and analysts around the USA. The report will be shared with the US-based policymakers and think tanks, FIIDS said.
Clashes broke out on May 3 in Manipur with its competing tribe Meities and Kukis attacking each other over the issue of tribal status to majority Meitie community.
Wide social media circulation of fake news of graphic videos and pictures sparked lethal violence and resulted in over 100 deaths and thousands of people displaced from their villages, the FIIDS media release said.