NEW DELHI, April 18 (UPI) -- Insurgent groups in Manipur are targeting Hindi-speaking people in the Indian state, Interior Minister Shivraj Patil said.
"The killings are suspected to have been perpetrated by armed cadres of a banned Meitei underground outfit, evidently to terrorize the non-local residents in the remote areas in the valley," Patil said in a statement.
He said insurgents killed 16 non-local residents in separate attacks in east and west Imphal, the capital of the state, and other districts of the state recently.
He said the state government had launched operations in the affected areas, imposed a curfew, and arranged security for non-Manipuri traders and laborers in isolated parts of the state.
Patil said a close watch was being maintained on the situation and intensive counterinsurgency operations were being conducted.
"The combined headquarters, which has been set up to coordinate counterinsurgency operations, is also meeting at regular intervals to review the situation and deployment of security forces," Patil said.
India's northeast is home to a half-dozen separatist and insurgent groups that target the Indian state and Hindi-speaking migrant workers.