The state of anipur is in a state of turmoil since the occurrence of ethnic clashes between Kuki and Meitei communities in the month of May 2023. Amidst the struggle of the state and its people to recover from the wounds of the violence, the north-west region of Manipur drew attention for unfavourable reasons. Since July 2023, the north-west Manipur has witnessed an escalation of violence caused by inter-faction clashes between the NSCN(IM) and ZUF insurgent groups, creating a complex and volatile environment.
Over the past five months, the NSCN(IM) and ZUF have engaged in a series of inter-faction clashes, plunging the state into a cycle of violence and instability. The clashes, occurring at regular intervals, have not only claimed lives but have also instigated fear amongst the locals, further exacerbating the already precarious situation in the region.
Both these groups share deep historical ties as ZUF is a splinter group of NSCN(IM).
Thus, the reasons behind these inter-faction clashes remain complex and multifaceted, ranging from territorial disputes to ideological differences. The probable reason of these clashes seems to be the dominance of NH-37, as it has become a key route in transportation of goods in the state and thus an appealing extortion site.
The activities of the NSCN(IM) and ZUF extend beyond inter-faction clashes, as they pose a direct threat to local residents. Reports have emerged of these groups targeting civilians, instilling fear within communities through intimidation tactics.
Locals are increasingly becoming victims of threats, extortion, and violence, further destabilizing the fragile social fabric of the state.
The presence of these insurgent groups has created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, forcing residents to live in constant dread of potential violence. It has been reported that these insurgent groups are demanding money from businesses, individuals, and even local authorities. Such criminal activities not only finance their operations but also contribute to the economic downturn of the state. The cycle of extortion perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty and instability, making it increasingly difficult for the region to recover and prosper. The diversion of funds to appease insurgent groups undermines social services and economic development, compounding the challenges faced, eventually obstructing the growth of the region. On one hand, these groups are seeking autonomy from the centre for development of the region and on the other, becoming a hindrance for the development for the same region.
The inter-faction clashes and activities of these groups in the state are causing profound disturbances, exacerbating an already fragile situation marked by ethnic clashes between Kuki and Meitei communities. Urgent and decisive action is needed to address the root causes of these conflicts, protect the lives of innocent civilians, and restore stability in the region.
Photo Source: Wikipedia