Indian minister’s home set ablaze in violence-hit Manipur state

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Guwahati (Reuters) – A federal Indian minister’s house was set on fire by a mob in the remote northeastern state of Manipur, which has been hit by clashes between members of rival ethnic groups for over a month, officials said on Friday.

Junior foreign minister R. K. Ranjan Singh’s office confirmed that a mob vandalised and set fire to his house in the Manipur capital Imphal.

“Fortunately none of the caretakers or family members were injured in the attack on the house,” said an aide to Singh in New Delhi.

Singh is a federal minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. Modi’s ruling party also governs the state of Manipur.

“I am shocked. The law and order situation in Manipur has totally failed,” Singh told ANI, Reuters TV partner in India.

The attack comes after weeks of violent clashes between members of the Kuki ethnic group, who mostly live in the hills, and Meiteis, the dominant community in the low lands of the state.

Singh is from the Meitei community. No group has taken the responsibility for the latest attack.

Clashes between the two communities erupted on May 3, sparked by resentment over economic benefits and quotas for easy access to government jobs and education reserved for the Kukis.

Meiteis account for half of Manipur’s population and extending limited affirmative action quotas to them would mean they would get a greater share in education and government jobs reserved for Kukis and others.

Latest federal home ministry records showed 83 people have been killed and over 60,000 residents displaced since May in the violence.

Civil society organisations from the Meitei and Kuki communities said hundreds of people from their communities were injured and homeless.

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