Over 220 Churches Burnt. 30,000 displaced. Urgent Medical Supplies Needed.
Manipur is a state with several tribes making up what can be called Chin-Kuki-Mizo hill tribes, and the Meiteis — which make up the majority of the population.
The Meiteis live in the valley, while the tribes reside primarily in the surrounding hills. There has been a long-standing conflict between these ethnic groups, many of the tribes are predominantly Christians, and the Meitei —who are predominantly Hindu — have had many conflicts from a religious standpoint as well as ethnic. According to “The Guardian”, tribal leaders have been quoted saying that living as Christians alongside the mostly Hindu Meitei people is “as good as death for our people.”
Manipur, India — Conflict Leading to Massive Christian Persecution — VOC’s Engagement Plan
In Feb of 2023, the state government evicted many local tribes from the forests in the areas of Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, and Tengnoupal, declaring the tribal people as encroachers.
In April a judge of the Manipur High Court requested that the Meitei people be included in the Scheduled Tribes list as this would give them rights to buy land in the hill country. This caused great outrage from the tribal people, who already feel oppressed and felt this would further damage their future. An open gym discussion was called but the gym was set fire to before the discussions could take place.
On May 3rd a march was arranged by the ATSUM (All Tribal Student Union Manipur), in opposition to the decision. Reportedly over 60,000 protestors attended this march. During this march reports say that the protestors were attacked by mobs of Meitei. The tribes claim in many cases even the local police, who were sent to break up the violence joined the attacks against them. Others say police trying to stop the violence where attacked. The following chaos lasted until May 4th, reportedly tribal people were fleeing to the hills, there were many reports of rapes and murder along with the destruction of over 60 churches. Both Christian Meitei and Christian Kiki people have taken the majority of the attacks.
According to our sources on the ground over 98 killed or missing, hundreds injured, and more than 4000 houses, 220 churches, and 112 villages burnt in the violence. Conservative estimates of 30,000 people have been displaced. An estimated 20,000 have been relocated to more secure areas and another 10,000 in surrounding camps.
Many camps have been set up in Manipur for these displaced people. We want to provide aid by giving them food, water, and other necessities. We seek to meet with pastors and discuss the immediate needs of the church and church members, and seek to replace lost bibles and hymnals so that they can return to worship.
We have heard reports of people walking around with bullets inside their bodies, as local medics lack even the basic medical supplies to operate. Local pastors have told us that the greatest need currently is medical supplies, which we will look at purchasing and delivering to the camps directly. In addition we are planning on visiting these camps to find the most direct needs.
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