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India: Christians killed and churches destroyed in Manipur

Today the Malankara Orthodox Church of the East remains in India, an apostolic Church that broke with Holy Orthodoxy over the Council of Chalcedon in 451. There is also a small number of Orthodox Christians under the jurisdiction of the the Holy Metropolis of Singapore.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in India, see here.

“Christians killed and churches destroyed in Manipur,” by Ellen Teague, The Tablet, May 10, 2023:

Church leaders in India sought the federal government’s help last week after sectarian riots in the northeastern state of Manipur claimed more than 50 lives and left nearly 100 churches burnt and vandalised.

Hindu mobs destroyed vehicles and burned homes and shops of Christians throughout the state. By the end of last week the home ministry had sent in the army and about 20,000 people were evacuated to army camps under army protection.

On 4 May a shoot-on-sight order was issued by the Manipur state government and it imposed a curfew.

Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore said: “It is with deep concern that we note the resurgence of persecution of Christians in Manipur.”

The archbishop has already filed a petition in India’s top court, seeking action over violence against Christians in India and the Supreme Court is currently hearing the case.

“We urge all parties involved to exercise restraint and work towards peace,” said Allen Brooks, spokesperson of United Christian Forum Northeast India.

Manipur, which borders Myanmar, is nearly 40 per cent Christian. The violence in there region arose from ethnic tensions between the majority Meitei community, which is largely Hindu and lives near the capital Imphal, and the predominantly Christian tribes who live in the hills.

Meitei Hindus attacked local tribal Christians when they held a rally on 3 May to protest against demands by the Meitei in the state for tribal status. This would give them access to forest lands and guarantee them a proportion of government jobs and places in educational institutions.

The communities already recognised as scheduled tribes, many of them Christian, worry that they may lose control over their ancestral forest land if the Meitei’s demand is accepted.

“The situation is out of control” said the Revd Zuankamang Daimai of the Manipur Baptist Convention Centre. “Our people are in shock, praying for peace.”…

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