A separatist insurgency began in 1964. It turned to a more violent phase in 1978. The Separatists demand a sovereign state separate from the Union of India, a claimed lack of development, plundering of local resources, and a general discontent is part of their argument.
There are currently 34 groups, including non-violent ones, that demand independence from India. In 1999, some of these groups coalesced into an alliance organization called the Manipur People’s Liberation Front. Prominent partners of the coalation are the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), Peoples Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), and Revolutionary People Front (RPF). The UNLF is estimated to have 2500 active militants, the PREPAK with 1500, and PLA with 3000. UNLF, founded in 1964, aims to establish an independent socialist Manipur.
There are intelligent reports revealing links between the Maoists and the Manipur militants outfits, they have now decided to extend moral and political support to each other in fighting against the Indian reactionary and oppressive regime. These groups perceive common people of India as under privilaged and downtrodden. Further, they claim that people are suffering under the semi feudal and semi colonial regime of India.
Each of the tribal groups have launched their own militant organization. From very long, periodical conflicts between Nagas and Kukis is observed. Naga outfits are demanding greater Nagaland at the cost of the territorial integrety of Manipur. This has created resentment among the Meiteis.
The extortion drive by multiple insurgent groups is very strong across the State. Allmost all the armed groups extract levies and ransoms from residents, transients, Government offices, local self Government and educational institutions, health centers, commerecial establishments. Manipur’s insurgent groups have singled out the non-local Hindi and Bengali speaking population. Insurgent groups draw support from elected representatives, government officials and political parties.
In Manipur, there are eight main political parties including INC and BJP. In the 2007 assembly elections, Congress won with a simple majority. In the recent parliamentary elections, about 63 percent of people cast their ballot in outer Manipur and about 60 percent of the people participated in inner Manipur. Both seats were won by Congress in the midst of opposition by several militant groups. BJP was also opposed by these groups. In 2009, there is a 25% decrease in the number of deaths in Manipur due to militancy.
The state is bounded by Nagaland in the north, by Mizoram in the south, by Assam in the west, and by the borders of the country Myanmar in the east as well as in the south. The total area covered by the state is 22,347 km²
Manipur has a population of 2,388,634. Of this total, 58.9% live in the valley and the remaining 41.1% in the hilly region. The hills are inhabited mainly by the Nagas, Kukis (Chin-Mizos) and smaller tribal communities and the valley mainly by the Meiteis, Muslims known as Meitei Pangal or Pangal, and Bhamons (who are literally non-Meiteis).
Manipuris worship many gods. Sanamahism is the oldest religion of Manipur. Some of the gods(Lais) Manipuris worship are Lainingthou Sorale, Atiya Sidaba, Pakhangba, Sanamahi, Leimaren, Oknarel, Panganba, Thangjing, Marjing, Wangbaren, Koubru. The religious life of the people has many characteristics inherited from their prehistoric ancestors. The essentials of this religion remain recognizable to the present day. Although many people interpret that Manipuri religions are not related to main stream variants of the rest of India, they are basically part of Hinduism. In the 15th century that a particular form of Vaisnavism was adopted and spread under the reign of King Kyamba through to King Khagemba in the 19th century. Towards the end of the 19th century and at the advent of the 20th century, a great force of Gaudiya Vaishnavism was present in Manipur. Sanamahi populations is about 11%. According to the 2001 census Hinduism is identified with 47% of the population.
Western missionaries, particularly Baptists, introduced Christianity in the 19th century. The vast majority of the hill tribes today are Christian. All groups of Nagas and Kukis of Manipur have adopted Christianity. The Bible is available in Hmar, Vaiphei, Paite, Tangkhul, Thadou, Lushai , Meiteilon and many other dialects. Christianity constitutes 34% of the population.
Muslims became part of Manipur from early seventh century AD. Bengali and immigrants notably in 15th century and converts to Islam ( referred to as Pangals) joined later. Muslims numbering 190,939 form about 8.32% of the state population as per 2001 census. There are Arab, Turani, Bengali and Mughal or Chaghtai Turk sections among Manipuri Muslims. There are various festivals celebrated in Manipur. Most of these festivals are usually celebrated on the basis of lunar calendar. Almost every festival celebrated in other states is observed here.