There’s a buzzing question for everyone, “What is happening in Manipur?”. There is an ongoing civil war in Manipur among the two groups, the majority Meitei and the tribal group Kuki. It started in the month of May’23 and still continuing. Reportedly 181 people died and 60k people were displaced as a result of Manipur violence. Many houses and churches have been set on fire. Curfew has been imposed in different areas and the internet has been banned in different districts of the state. Still, there is fresh news of violence every now and then.

What is happening in Manipur and What caused Manipur violence:

Eight members of the Meitei Tribe Union filed a petition to the high court seeking ST status for themselves. On the 27th of March this year, Manipur high court passed and direct the state government to recommend the inclusion of the Meitei community in the ST status list and this news went on public on 19th April’23. As soon as it went public the Kuki community opposed the high court order.

This was only the trigger point but this is not the only reason for present-day clashes. The root goes back to the days before independence. To know about the provocating factors we need to know the history of Manipur.

What we know about Manipur

Ancient Manipur:

As per a chronical manipur history goes back to 33 A.D. Although it is controversial and not fully reliable. this chronicle gives us an account of a Meity kingdom. As per the record, Pakhangba was the first king of this dynasty.

During this time there was a tribal community called Naga who were basically hill dwellers and had their own culture different from the Meitei community.

Pre-Independence Manipur

In the late 18, the British came to India. During the time of British arrival, there were frequent invasions into Manipur by Barma. In 1762 Raja Jay Singh, the king of Manipur signed a treaty with the British in order to defeat Barma, The British, and Raja Jay Singh drafted a plan of resettling the Kuki people in Manipur. In order to execute the plan they allowed the tribal community from cookie chin hill of Barma who were the minority there and were being displaced by the majority.

Thus the Kuki tribal community became a part of Manipur but this change did not stop the Burmese from invading Manipur and they finally got control of Manipur from 1818 to 1826, the years of devastation. Finally, with the British help manipur pushed back the Burmese. In 1891, it became a princely state under British India. In 1956 Manipur became a union territory and a full-fledged state in 1972.

Geographical and Demographical Importance of Manipur

Manipur is one of the 28th states of India as well as one of the seven sisters state which shares its border with Nagaland to the north, Assam to the west, Mizoram to the east, and Myanmar to the south.

Manipur is a state of hills and valleys. The capital Imphal is situated in the valley. The Imphal Valley is surrounded by hills in all directions.

As per the last census, the majority Meitei have a share of 54% of the whole population and live in the valley, and the rest are constituted of tribal groups who basically live in hill areas. Now the twisting point is that Valley is only 1/10 of the total area of the state and houses all Meitei.

The Root causes of present-day clashes:

The tribal community of Manipur which are mainly Naga, Kuki, and others were given ST status after the merging with India whereas the same was denied to the Meitei. Now a community that has an ST status enjoys a lot of privileges such as reservation in a government job, education, politics, subsidy in different government schemes, and most importantly, their land will be protected.

As per the Indian constitution, the ST community has a right to acquire land and no other community can purchase their land. So the Meitei community which is found in the valley can not purchase land on the hill whereas Kuku, nagas, and other communities can buy land in the valley. Since the valley is already overpopulated, hence for their livelihood, the Meitei people want ST status so that they can purchase lands on Hill and live there, But this is not accepted by Kukis.

Other provocating factors:

There are other tribal communities in Manipur then why only Kuki is fighting against Meitei? There are a few reasons behind this.

  1. There is a notion that the Kukis are not native to Manipur, they are outsiders, their origin goes back to Barma, present-day called Myanmar.
  2. Recently the Meitei government took the initiative to evict the illegal immigrant from two villages of the state. The people from those two villages were kukis mainly.
  3. some people in hill areas cultivate poppies for some extra income. The government has also put a full stop to that. This had a financial impact on the Kuki people.

So on the one hand Kuki community enjoys a lot of privileges but is also termed as illegal immigrants, poppy cultivators, and outsiders whereas Meiti enjoys political power but is deprived of those privileges. hence there is a conflict of interest between the Kuki and the Meitei communities.


This conflict would result in more devastation if the government and other authorities do not take the necessary steps. To restore peace in the state, the Government need to know the gravity of the situation and the origin of its occurrence. Hope the people of Manipur will get back to normal life very soon.