By Chingkheinganbi Mayengbam: Petrol at Rs 200 a litre on the black market, an acute shortage of life-saving drugs, ATMs running dry and shops open for just a few hours every day. Hidden behind the screaming ‘Manipur is Burning’ headline are the struggles of daily life in Imphal valley, cut off due to a highway blockade.

And it has been like this for weeks now.

It’s been exactly a month since the violence broke out in Manipur between the Meitei and Kuki communities following a protest rally by the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3 against the demand for inclusion of the Meiteis in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category. In the aftermath, both the communities suffered irreparable losses and the state government’s figures put the number of deaths in the month-long violence at 98 with 310 more injured.

Members of both the communities lost their homes and were forced to take refuge in relief camps either in Manipur or in places which are thousands of kilometres away from home, including in Delhi, Dimapur and Guwahati. But what is the situation of the people in the hill state who have been cut off from the world without internet connection for a month and are living in the small interstices when the perpetual curfew lifts for a few hours every day?

As sporadic violence continues in different areas of Manipur, life must continue. But for that, essential commodities of daily life are needed. The scarcity of such commodities has become one of the major blowbacks of the violence. The two communities – the Meiteis and the Kukis – are warring with each other, but this is an issue which affects both.

Imphal valley hosts all tribes and communities. So, the daily post-violence struggles are not limited to any particular tribe or community.


The price of essential commodities doubled overnight as civil bodies blocked the National Highway Number 2 and prevented goods trucks from entering Imphal, the capital city.

The average price of rice shot up to Rs 60 per kg from Rs 30 earlier. The price of vegetables has also been affected. Onions, which were earlier priced at Rs 35 a kilo, now cost Rs 70, and the price of potatoes increased from Rs 15 to Rs 40. Eggs now cost Rs 10 per piece from the earlier Rs 6. The cost of refined oil has also shot up to around Rs 250 to 280 from an earlier price of Rs 220.