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India: Christians urge president to end Manipur violence

Many Hindus believe that conversion to Christianity is an attack on their culture and way of life, and an imminent threat to both, despite the fact that Christianity has been a presence in India since the days of St. Thomas the Apostle. 

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

“Christians urge Indian president to end Manipur violence,” UCA News, September 5, 2023:

Christian groups from northeast India have urged the country’s president to end more than four months of sectarian strife in Manipur where six people were killed on Sept. 1 to take the toll to 181.

“We are writing to you to urgently appeal for your intervention to end the ongoing conflict in Manipur,” five Christian groups, all based in Manipur’s neighboring Nagaland state, said in a memorandum to President Draupadi Murmu, India’s first president from a tribal community.

Manipur, bordering civil war-hit Myanmar, has witnessed unprecedented violence since May 3 between Kuki tribal Christians and the Meitei Hindu community.

The sectarian strife over granting tribal status to the Meitei Hindu community has seen the burning of more than 350 Christian churches.

The Nagas, as the people from Nagaland are called, form the third major community in Manipur and have maintained a distance from the ongoing violence. Along with Nagaland and Manipur, five other states form India’s northeastern region.

“We earnestly request your support in rebuilding the churches and religious institutions that have suffered extensive damage due to the violence,” the Nagaland Joint Christian Forum, Christian Forum Dimapur, Nagaland Theological Colleges Association, Dimapur Baptist Pastors Fellowship and Dimapur Baptist Women Union said in the memorandum, submitted to La Ganesan, the Nagaland governor, on Sept. 3. Ganesan earlier served as the governor of Manipur.

“What is happening in Manipur is a human rights violation”
Governors in provincial states are considered representatives of the Indian president. The Christian groups also submitted a copy of the memorandum to N Biren Singh, Manipur’s chief minister.

“These institutions [churches] have historically played a vital role in fostering a sense of community, promoting values of peace and harmony and providing vital services to the people,” they said.

“What is happening in Manipur is a human rights violation,” and the government has completely failed to check the unrest, Reverend Zelhou Keyho, general secretary of the Nagaland Baptist Church Council, told UCA News….

At least 181 people have died and 50,000 have been displaced, most of them Christians, in the ethnic violence….

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