Violent attacks on Christians may cause a civil war in Manipur
A wave of violence in India erupted with 397 churches being burned and more than 70 Christians killed.
Violence broke out at the Imphal Valley and Churachandpur earlier this May. Members of the Meitei ethnic group stole more than 1,000 weapons and 10,000 rounds of ammunition from the Manipur Police Training College, two local police stations, and an IRB battalion camp in Imphal. 397 churches and six Christian institutions were either damaged, burned or destroyed. The churches affected were primarily places of worship for Meitei Christians.
Based on reports from Open Door UK Hindu nationalists are seeking out Christians to kill or forcibly convert to Hinduism. Despite the Supreme Court’s order to maintain peace and law in the region, the Hindu nationalist local government has done nothing to stop the violence.
According to Henrietta Blyth, Chief Executive of Open Doors UK and Ireland, Hindu extremists have used the communal violence “as a platform to further attack the Christian community. Churches from both the Meitei and Kuki sides were burned and demolished. Christians were beaten up and chased out of their homes. The minority tribes are hiding in IDP camps, protected by the military. They’re fearing for their lives and rightly so. Hindu supremacist group Arambai Tenggol is forcibly re-converting Christians and reportedly seeking out church leaders to kill. People don’t have food or shelter and are still facing threats of physical violence.”
She added “Food supply and military trucks were burned, and many people have suffered from mental and physical loss and are deeply traumatised. If the worst happened and Manipur descends into civil war further down the line, the human suffering it would cause, on both sides, would be immeasurable.”
Christians who have fled are struggling to survive on a day-to-day basis. They don’t have access to automated teller machines to withdraw money; moreover, food and fuel prices are soaring.
An Open Door partner – whose name cannot be revealed for security purposes – said “If the situation continues civil war is inevitable. If there is a civil war the situation will only become more gruesome, more lives lost, properties destroyed and further open persecution of religious minorities. People are living in fear and are sceptical of what the future holds. We need your help in raising a voice against the injustice and atrocities faced by the Christians.”