Authorities ordered the internet to be cut off and issued immediate firing orders in ‘extreme cases’ in an attempt to stem the violence.
Local media report fresh violence has hit India’s remote northeastern region, despite the government’s rush to deploy troops to restore order after ethnic clashes.
Thousands of soldiers were sent to Manipur state after a protest march by a tribal group turned violent on Wednesday.
The situation remained tense after another wave of violence on Friday night, hours after the state’s top police officer warned that rioters had stolen weapons and ammunition from police stations.
The authorities imposed the internet blackout and issued order to shoot now in “extreme cases” in an attempt to prevent unrest.
Hospital morgues in the state capital Imphal and Churachandpur district further south have reported a total of 54 deaths.
Kuldeep Singh, security adviser to the Manipur government, told journalists in the state capital Imphal that 18 to 20 deaths have been reported, “although we are still verifying whether these deaths are reported. whether it was caused by recent violence or related to some other incident.”
“About 100 people were injured and treated at different hospitals,” Singh said, adding that more than 500 homes had burned down in the past few days and some vehicles were also burned.
Manipur Police Superintendent P Doungel said orders had been given to take stern action against anyone found to be involved in acts of violence.
“We have asked the military to hold flag-raising parades in areas of violence, and have instructed the forces to take stern action against anyone involved,” Mr. Doungel told journalists. engage in violence.
An internet outage has hampered the flow of information from Manipur, and details of the latest clashes remain sparse.
An Indian army unit based in neighboring Nagaland state said 13,000 people had sought shelter from the violence.
On Thursday, security forces fired tear gas in Imphal to disperse protesters, some of whom burned vehicles and homes in some parts of the city.
Burnt cars were seen on deserted streets due to the imposition of a round-the-clock curfew.
Defense officials said Friday that additional troops have been brought into the state by land and air.
The Meitei, the largest single ethnic group in the state, have lobbied for scheduled tribal status, while other recognized tribes in Manipur oppose the move.
India dedicates some work in government, university admissions and elected seats, from village councils to parliament, to communities under a scheduled tribal category as a form of affirmative action to Addressing historical structural inequality and discrimination.
Last month, the Manipur High Court asked the government to consider the plea of the Meitei community and decide on it.
Manipur is part of India’s remote northeast, an area connected to the rest of the country by a narrow land corridor that has experienced decades of unrest between ethnic and separatist groups.
At least 50,000 people have been killed in conflicts since the first uprising broke out in Manipur in the early 1950s.
Over the years, these conflicts have eased, with many groups reaching agreements with New Delhi for more power.