Manipur Incident Full Story: In Detail, Ethnic Violence of 3rd May 2023

Manipur Incident: The Manipur incident of 3rd May 2023 stands as a tragic testament to the deep-rooted tensions between the Meitei people and the predominantly Christian tribal community, including the Kuki people. This article delves into the comprehensive and detailed account of the events that unfolded on that fateful day and the subsequent aftermath.

We will explore the historical background, the factors that escalated the situation, the riots and military deployment, the shocking viral video, and the reactions from various quarters. Throughout the article, we will focus to provide an in-depth understanding of the entire scenario.

Background: Hill Tribes of Northeast India

The northeastern state of Manipur is characterized by its diverse ethnic landscape. The Meitei people, predominantly Hindus but also including Muslims, Buddhists, and native Sanamahi followers, form a majority population in the Imphal Valley.

Surrounding the valley, the hills are home to various hill tribes, mainly classified as Kukis in the southern portion and Nagas in the northeastern portion. These tribal communities, primarily Christians, constitute a significant portion of Manipur’s population.

Escalation in 2023: Efforts to Remove Illegal Immigrants

  • The escalation leading to the violent incident in 2023 began with the Manipur government’s efforts to remove illegal immigrants from settlements in reserve forest areas.
  • The officials claimed that illegal immigrants from Myanmar had been settling in Manipur since the 1970s.
  • However, the tribal groups alleged that this was a pretext for the Meitei population to drive away the tribal communities from their ancestral lands.
  • The situation quickly turned tense, and the tribal communities called for a total shutdown in protest against the state government’s actions.

Withdrawal from Suspension of Operation Agreements

In a further step that added fuel to the fire, the Manipur Cabinet decided to withdraw from the Suspension of Operation agreements with three Kuki militant groups, including the Kuki National Army and the Zomi Revolutionary Army. However, the central government did not support this withdrawal, leading to heightened tensions and concerns among the tribal communities.

Protests for a National Register of Citizens (NRC)

The demand for a National Register of Citizens (NRC) with 1951 as the base year gained momentum during this period. The tribal groups, protesting the alleged encroachment of tribal land, called for a creation of the NRC to address their concerns about abnormal population growth in hill areas. This demand further strained the already delicate relations between the Meitei and tribal communities.

Manipur Violence in the Kangpokpi District

On a fateful day, 3rd May 2023, violence broke out in the Kangpokpi district. Tribal protesters gathered to hold a rally against what they perceived as the “encroachment of tribal land in the name of reserved forests, protected forests, and wildlife sanctuaries.”

Manipur Violence in the Kangpokpi District
Manipur Violence in the Kangpokpi District

This gathering led to clashes with the police, and tear gas shells were used to disperse the crowds. The situation quickly spiraled out of control, and the violence spread to other areas, including:

  1. Churachandpur
  2. Kakching
  3. Canchipur
  4. Soibam Leikai
  5. Tengnoupal
  6. Langol
  7. Kangpokpi
  8. and Moreh.

Meitei Demand for Scheduled Tribe Status

At the heart of the Manipur violence was the Meitei community’s long-standing demand for a Scheduled Tribe status under the Indian Constitution.

This demand was perceived as a threat by the tribal communities, who feared that granting the Meiteis this status would allow them to purchase land in the prohibited hilly areas, potentially leading to the loss of their ancestral lands and resources.

Riots and Military Deployment: Tribal Solidarity March

The situation escalated when the All Tribal Student Union Manipur (ATSUM) called for a “Tribal Solidarity March” on 3rd May 2023. The march, initially meant to be a show of unity by tribal communities, turned violent in the Churachandpur district.

Clashes erupted between the Meitei and Kuki populations, resulting in attacks on the predominantly Kuki tribal population in non-tribal areas, particularly in Imphal.

Deployment of Troops and Curfew

In an attempt to restore law and order, the Manipur government deployed close to 10,000 troops and paramilitary forces across the region.

Curfew was imposed in eight districts, including non-tribal dominated areas like Imphal West, Kakching, Thoubal, Jiribam, and Bishnupur, as well as tribal-dominated Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, and Tengnoupal districts. The situation demanded swift and decisive action from the authorities.

Manipur Incident Viral Video and Recurrent Violence

Amidst the ongoing violence, a shocking video went viral on 19th July 2023, showing two Kuki women being forcibly paraded naked and subjected to sexual assault by a mob of apparently young Meitei men.

Manipur Incident Viral Video and Recurrent Violence
Manipur Incident Viral Video and Recurrent Violence

The incident had occurred on 4th May 2023, and the video emerged only after more than two months due to the internet shutdown in Manipur.

The incident sparked widespread outrage and demands for justice and intervention. It highlighted the impact of the internet blackout, hindering timely reporting and intervention in such incidents.

Reactions and Media Coverage

The Manipur incident drew varied reactions from political leaders, religious figures, and sports personalities. While some leaders called for urgent intervention and restoration of normalcy, others criticized the government’s handling of the situation.

Concerns were raised about biased media reporting, with major newspapers owned by Meiteis avoiding reporting on violence faced by Kukis while highlighting violence by Kuki militants.


The Manipur incident of 3rd May 2023 represents a tragic chapter in the state’s history, revealing the deep-rooted tensions between the Meitei and tribal communities. The violence and subsequent events have had far-reaching consequences, leading to loss of lives, displacement, and communal tensions.

It is crucial for the authorities to conduct a neutral and thorough investigation into the root causes of the violence to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation among the affected communities.


What triggered the ethnic violence in Manipur?

The violence was triggered by the Meitei community’s demand for a Scheduled Tribe status under the Indian Constitution, leading to concerns among tribal communities about losing their land and resources.

How many people were affected by the violence?

As of 4th July, the violence resulted in 142 fatalities, over 300 wounded, and approximately 54,488 displaced.

What actions were taken by the authorities to restore law and order?

The Indian Army deployed close to 10,000 troops and paramilitary forces, and curfew was imposed across eight districts to restore law and order.

What role did the internet shutdown play in the violence?

The indiscriminate internet ban hindered information gathering and reporting, leading to concerns about biased media coverage and allegations of partisan killings by security forces.

How did the viral video impact the situation?

The video of two Kuki women being paraded naked and assaulted by a mob sparked widespread outrage and demands for justice and intervention. The incident highlighted the impact of the internet shutdown in Manipur, preventing timely reporting and intervention.