A first information report has been registered against members of a fact-finding team that had visited Manipur and alleged that the violence in the state was “state-sponsored”.

Manipur has been witnessing ethnic clashes between the Kuki and Meitei communities since May 3. Widespread incidents of violence and arson continue to deepen the crisis in the state. Over 140 people have been killed and nearly 60,000 have been forced to flee their homes.

The FIR was registered on July 8 at the Imphal police station against Annie Raja, Nisha Siddhu and Deeksha Dwivedi.

Raja and Siddhu are associated with the National Federation of Indian Women, the women’s wing of the Communist Party of India, while Dwivedi is a Delhi-based lawyer.

They have been charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code related to waging war against the state, provocation and defamation.

The FIR against the three women was lodged on the basis of a complaint filed by a man named L Liben Singh. He objected to their statements made on July 3 at a press conference, where they detailed their findings.

In its report, the fact-finding team claimed that the ethnic violence in Manipur was not communal or merely a fight between two communities. “It involves questions of land, resources, and the presence of fanatics and militants,” the panel said.

It also blamed the BJP governments in Manipur and at the Centre for not taking enough steps to stop the clashes.

“The violence that broke out on the May 3 did not occur by itself, without any buildup,” the committee said. “There was a clear backdrop of mistrust and anxiety that was being stoked amidst both the communities by the ruling dispensation at the state and Centre in order to precipitate a full-blown civil war-like situation.”

The panel criticised Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, saying that he should take moral and political responsibility for the violence, according to The Nagaland Post.

“He [Singh] should have resigned from his post within a week after violence erupted on May 3 itself,” Raja added. “He did not do that.”

Raja stated that Biren’s offer to resign on June 30 and his subsequent refusal was a “state-managed drama”.

In his complaint to the police, L Liben Singh claimed that the statements by the fact-finding team were an attempt to “overthrow a democratically elected government by instigating people to wage war against the government” and have “complete disregard to actual facts”, reported the Imphal Free Press.

Hyderabad professor summoned over media interview

The development comes after a court in Imphal East district summoned the head of the University of Hyderabad’s political science department over his remarks on the Manipur violence, reported The Wire.

Kham Khan Suan Hausing was summoned on July 6 after the court’s chief judicial magistrate, Ashem Tarunakumari Devi, took cognisance of a complaint made against him by Manihar Moirangthem Singh, a member of the Meitei Tribes Union.

Singh had alleged that Hausing made “derogatory remarks” against “holy religious sites associated historically with the Meitei community” and tried to defame them in an interview with The Wire’s Karan Thapar on June 17.

In the interview, Hausing had called upon Biren Singh to resign from his post and suggested that a separate administration must be created for the minority Kuki community.

Prior to this, two Kuki activists – Mary Grace Zou and Wilson Lalam Hangshing – were summoned on June 30 for the remarks they made about the clashes during an interview with The Wire.