At least 13 people have been killed in gun battles in India’s northeastern Manipur, the latest clashes since ethnic violence erupted seven months ago, a state official and local media said.
At least 200 people have been killed in Manipur state since fighting broke out in May between the predominantly Hindu Meitei majority and mainly Christian Kuki community.
A state official confirmed to AFP late Monday that the bodies were found in Manipur’s Tengnoupal district, an area lying close to the border with Myanmar.
State police also released a statement confirming the death toll, the Times of India said Tuesday.
Longstanding tensions between the two communities have revolved around competition for land and public jobs, with rights activists accusing local leaders of exacerbating ethnic divisions for political gain.
The far-flung state has now fractured along ethnic lines, with rival militias setting up blockades to keep out members of the opposing community.
Human Rights Watch has accused state authorities in Manipur, which is governed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s party, of facilitating the conflict with “divisive policies that promote Hindu majoritarianism.”