-Top News Asia News India News

97% South Asia displacements linked to Manipur

The conflict triggered the displacement of approximately 67,000 people, with most of the movements occurring within Manipur. …reports Asian Lite News

Conflict and violence led to 69,000 displacements in South Asia in 2023, with Manipur alone accounting for 67,000 of these, according to a report by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). This marked the highest number of displacements due to conflict and violence in India since 2018.

The violence in Manipur was sparked on May 3, 2023, during a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ organized in the state’s hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The march led to violent clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities, resulting in over 200 deaths.

In March of the previous year, the Manipur High Court had recommended that the central government recognize the Meitei community as a Scheduled Tribe, a status that provides legal protection against marginalization. This recommendation faced opposition from other local tribes, including the Kukis, who feared it would exacerbate land disputes and social tensions.

The violence began in Churachandpur district and quickly spread to other districts, including Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Tengnoupal, and Kangpokpi. The conflict triggered the displacement of approximately 67,000 people, with most of the movements occurring within Manipur. However, a significant number of people also fled to neighboring states such as Mizoram, Nagaland, and Assam.

In response to the escalating violence, the central government imposed curfews, shut down internet services, and dispatched security forces to the region. Relief camps were established, and a peace committee was formed under the state governor’s chairmanship. However, disagreements about the committee’s composition hindered its effectiveness.

By the end of the year, all those displaced by the violence remained in internal displacement, according to the IDMC. The report also noted that around 5.3 million people across South Asia were internally displaced due to conflict and violence by the end of 2023, with 80% of these individuals in Afghanistan.

According to IDMC report, in 2023, India witnessed a significant decrease in internal displacements caused by natural disasters, totalling over half a million compared to the previous year’s 2.5 million.

The report shed light on various calamities that led to displacement, including floods, storms, earthquakes, and other environmental crises.

Deadly floods ravaged the Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, while a glacial lake outburst flood in Sikkim resulted in the collapse of a hydroelectric dam, claiming over 100 lives and affecting more than 88,000 individuals.

In Delhi, identified as a “flood displacement hotspot,” heavy rains caused the Yamuna River to overflow on July 9, 2023, prompting the evacuation of residents from their homes.

The city recorded 27,000 displacements due to this event, with rainfall reaching a record 153 mm in just 24 hours, the highest since 1982.

Overall, South Asia reported approximately 3.7 million internal displacements, with disasters causing 3.6 million, marking the lowest figure since 2018.

The decline in displacements was attributed in part to the El Niño event, resulting in below-average monsoon rainfall and a weaker cyclone season.

Despite this, floods and storms persisted, albeit with reduced impact in certain areas.

India’s flood displacement figure of 352,000 was the lowest since 2008, with notable events affecting regions like Assam and Gujarat.

ALSO READ: EC summons Andhra Chief Secy, DGP over post-poll violence