The violence between the Kuki-Zomi and Meitei communities in Manipur has increased, prompting calls for peace from Christian organizations across India on Friday.
The United Christian Forum of North East India encouraged all churches to cooperate in praying for peace on Sunday, attributing the disturbance to a power struggle among several parties that resulted in "conflicts, violence, arson, and loss of life."
The Call for Peace in Manipur
According to The Indian Express, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bengaluru and a well-known member of the country's Catholic community, Reverend Dr. Peter Machado, expressed worry over the state's persecution of Christians. 41% of the people in Manipur identify as Christians, making up a sizable portion of the population. According to reports, three churches were constructed in 1974, and a few homes have been set on fire, causing people to flee to safer areas.
The Archbishop emphasized the sense of discontent that the Christian community in Manipur was experiencing and urged the government to guarantee religious freedom. Even though the BJP administration in power has issued helpline directives, it just highlights the serious threat those targeted because of their religious practices and beliefs face. Approximately seventeen churches have reportedly been vandalized, desecrated, or defiled, with many of them still burning.
Reverend Machado voiced optimism that the situation will be under control, bringing back Manipur's residents' sense of security and tranquility. He highlighted that because the people have given the party power, hoping it will lead to good governance, the government is responsible for protecting religious freedom.
North East India Christian Council and Other Associations Appeal for Peace in Manipur
In the story shared in Nagaland Post, the violence in Manipur that caused the loss of lives and property has drawn the grave concern of the North East India Christian Council (NEICC). Rev. Dr. Ramengliana, general secretary of the NEICC, and Rev. R. Lalnunzira, president, denounced the attacks on places of worship in a statement and urged everyone to practice peace and prudence.
The council has recognized the ongoing events as very shameful and undesirable and is pushing the government to act quickly in order to control the situation fast.
According to the Naga Scholars' Association (NSA), violence cannot be justified or supported and will ultimately only result in additional disputes, mistrust, and discontent. Any violence and mob action that jeopardized the peace and stability of the community was "unequivocally" condemned by the NSA.
The organization highlighted the importance of cooperating while ignoring preconceptions and creating a community built on respect, tolerance, and understanding. The NSA made an urgent plea to higher authorities for the prompt restoration of peace and order in the area and to resolve the complaints of individuals harmed during the violent skirmishes.
Although it did not associate the incident with religious extremism or imply that Christians had been singled out for attack because of their beliefs, the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) expressed grief and worry about the violence in Manipur. According to Christianity Today, the General Secretary of EFI, Vijayesh Lal, issued a statement urging all parties to maintain caution and work toward a peaceful resolution of the problems. He encouraged the residents of Manipur to stay away from groups and individuals who promote divisiveness and division.
To address the root causes of the conflict, Lal further urged the state and union governments to undertake productive discussions with all parties involved.