Overnight protests over controversial tribal rights bills in the district of Churachandpur in the Indian state of Manipur killed four people and wounded eight others, a senior local official said on Tuesday.
In the protests, which took place yesterday evening, the houses of state Health Minister Phungzathang Tonsing and five other lawmakers were torched shortly after three bills were passed by the state assembly on Monday.
"One person was charred to death in one of the MLAs' [member of legislative assembly] house," Manipur Home Secretary J. Suresh Babu told the NDTV network.
"Subsequently, there was police firing done... in which one person has been killed and another person has been suspected to have been killed," he added.
The controversial bills, especially the Manipur Land Revenue & Land Reform Act (7th Amendment Bill 2015), have angered the tribal Naga and Kuki people who are live in the Nagaland district of Northeastern India. The bills reportedly allow non-tribals to purchase land and own properties in the area. The tribals claim that the new amendment will trigger a great influx of people to the state and that they will lose their jobs and ancesteral lands.
The new amendments set 1951 as the base year for classifying residents, giving property rights only to residents who settled in Manipur before 1951, and describing others as “outsiders” who may not claim property rights in the land and may even be asked to leave.
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Following the violence in Churachandpur between security forces and protesters on late Monday, Manipur authorities have declared an indefinite curfew in the town, which is located 60 kilometers southwest of the state’s capital Imphal, according to media outlets.