At least four people were killed and 13 others injured in violence that broke out in Churachandpur district in Manipur late on Monday over three bills passed in the state assembly, prompting authorities to impose indefinite curfew in Churachandpur town.
Three bodies were found in Churachandpur town and one charred body was recovered from the debris at the residence of MLA Manga Vaiphei of Henglep assembly constituency on Tuesday, a police officer said.
Hours after the bills were passed, widespread arson was witnessed in the state and houses of minister in charge of family welfare Phungzaphang Tonsimg, an MP and five MLAs were set on fire by unidentified people in Churachandpur. According to a senior police officer, the houses of MP from Outer Manipur Lok Sabha seat Thangso Baite, and five MLAs - including Vaiphei and Vungzagin Valte of Thanlom - were torched.
Churachandpur district hospital authorities said 20 people were admitted to the hospital of which seven were discharged after first-aid.
In view of the situation, the administration had imposed an indefinite curfew in Churachandpur town since late Monday evening. The police said the situation is under control now.
A police officer said three tribal students' organisations, which had called a 12-hour bandh in the hill districts on Monday to protest against the passing of the bills in the 60-member assembly, are suspected to be behind the arson.
Several frontline tribal organisations have also called a 12-hour shutdown on Tuesday to protest the bills they say are against the interests of the tribal people. These include the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh amendment) Bill, 2015, and The Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015.
Kuki and Naga tribal organisations have said the bills are against the spirit of Article 371C and Manipur Hill People Administration Regulation Act of 1947 that safeguard the rights of tribal people over land and resources.
Manipur has virtually been paralysed by an agitation seeking imposition of Inner Line Permit (ILP) for checking the influx of outsiders. The bills are expected to pave the way for ILP on the lines of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. The agitation was intensified after the death of a student in police action on July 8.
The combined population of the indigenous people living in the hills and plains of Manipur is around 18-19 lakh, while the outsiders, including those from Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh, account for more than 10 lakh out of the state's total population of 28 lakh, according to the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System.
(With agency inputs)