Its about THE WAR ON DRUGS
Here is a report:
The underlying tensions in Manipur stem from a complex interplay of various factors, one of which is a crackdown on drugs in recent years. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government, under Chief Minister N Biren Singh, who is a Meitei, launched a controversial campaign targeting poppy farming. Since 2017, his government claims to have destroyed more than 18,600 acres of poppy farms, the majority of them in Kuki-inhabited areas. (Manipur has long battled a drug-addiction crisis and is among four north-eastern Indian states bordering Myanmar, the world's second-largest opium producer.)
But Mr Singh's campaign also became a flashpoint between the two groups. He cautioned that villages growing poppy - mostly Kuki homelands - would be stripped of their welfare benefits, and accused Kukis of doing "drugs business". Kukis accused Mr Singh of "selective targeting and vilification" of the community - an allegation he denies.
In Leitangpokpi, villagers talk about farms in the hills above being cleared to grow poppy. Most Meitei men here were farmers or firewood traders. They would take Kuki-owned land in the hills on three-year leases, chop down trees and sell firewood in the market, said Tarun Ngangom, a local former teacher. "But this has slowed down in recent years, because we hear many of the villages have begun growing poppy," he said, a claim that could not be independently verified.
The scale of poppy farming in these parts is unclear. According to official figures, more than 730 acres of poppy farms in Imphal East district - home to 16% of Manipur's estimated 3.3 million people, and including Naga, Meitei and Nepali inhabited villages - have been destroyed since 2017.
Then there's the brewing fault line over undocumented illegal immigrants from Myanmar, a country with which Manipur shares a near-400km (248-mile) border. Stickers bearing the message "go back, Burmese refugees" have begun appearing on storefronts and residences across Meitei villages.
Mr Singh has repeatedly spoken of concerns about the civil war in Mynamar prompting an influx of refugees, who are ethnically close to the Kukis. (The majority of these refugees - more than 40,000 - have entered and taken refuge in neighbouring Mizoram.) A state government panel identified 2,187 immigrants from Myanmar in four districts of Manipur until end-April. An official note spoke of a "large number of illegal migrants" and said the "recent violence was fuelled by influential illegal poppy cultivators and drug lords from Myanmar settling in Manipur".
But life among the ordinary people appeared to have been largely without friction before the recent violence. In villages nestled against the foothills, Meiteis have travelled uphill to gather firewood and employ excavators for road construction. And Kukis have come down to do business.
"We have been living peacefully with our Kuki neighbours for years," said Ms Shanti. "We would go to their villages, they would come to ours and do their shopping. Some of us have even jointly invested in [local] small savings funds.
"How did our friends and neighbours become enemies overnight? Were they instigated by outsiders?" she asks.
READ MOREManipur: The abandoned villages in the crosshairs of India violence
This is the second of a two-part series of ground reports from violence-hit Kuki and Meitei areas. You can read the first one here.