Manipur is “No longer safe” Christians Lament Amid Violence: Resident Christians in Manipur, a north-eastern state of India have cried out, noting that the state is “no longer safe” as violence between rival groups progress to nearly 100 days.
Tens of thousands of people were reportedly forced to evacuate their houses and up to 150 individuals are thought to have died following the tribal war between Hindu-dominated Meitei and the minority Kuki who are predominantly Christians.
The Kuki tribe believes that the violence against them is mostly prompted by their Christian beliefs. Although there are now quieter days after three months, fights still occur every second or third night.
A planned mass funeral for Kuki victims was recently delayed when a new attack resulted in the settling of fire to more homes. There has been extensive damage, leaving hundreds of homes and churches in ruins.
Priya Sharma, a senior researcher for the charity ‘Open Doors’ disclosed that Christians are targeted by leaders of the majority Meitei tribal group because of their faith, reports Premier Christian News.
“Once people come into Christianity they understand a better way of living and the importance of education. They look into the development of the family, and a good life compared to the Meitei community.”
Priya Sharma claims that after a nonviolent demonstration demanding rights and status, what may have first been “ethnic violence” gradually turned into attacks on christians from both tribes
“There’s a lot of talk of the Kuki tribe being affected, but there is no mention of Meitei Christians also being affected,” he said. “Manipur is a place where once the Christians were safe, but now it’s no longer safe.” he added.
A recent video of two Kuki women being paraded and degraded in Manipur caught the attention of the world media after going viral on social media. As a result, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was subject to a vote of no confidence. Despite the vote forcing the Indian government to face the violence issue for the first time, his governing BJP party handily defeated the resolution.
Addressing the issue on Thursday, Modi said: “I want to tell the women of Manipur that the country stands with them. This Parliament is with them. We will together find ways to resolve this challenge, and peace will be established once again there. I assure the people of Manipur that the state will again witness progress”
However, his brief remarks were made ony after opposition supporters staged a walkout in protest of his omission to mention the viloence during the firsy hour and a half of his speech, ad disappointed campaigners claim his words were mere too little too late.
There have already been thouands of christian homes plundered and torched in the area, along with an estimated 400 chuches that have been destroyed.