Christians in Manipur remain apprehensive as a result of thousands of Christians displaced and large scale damage to their properties. The communal violence between the Kuki and Meiti communities erupted on May 3, when the Christians were holding a peaceful protest. Recent clashes have severely affected the state of Manipur.
Unofficial records state that at least 120 churches were burnt down, while more than 20,000 houses were destroyed and more than 50,000 individuals were displaced within the region. Unofficial record says that the death toll has passed 100. Onground reports also hint towards the indifferent involvement of the the Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP) in orchestrating the communal clashes.
Onground report further suggested that: “The targeting of mostly Kuki and a few Meitei churches and the involvement of Kuki militants who campaigned for the BJP raise serious questions about the underlying motives behind this violence.”
Agitated mobs desecrated, vandalised, and burned down more than 230 churches, reports said. Vandalism and violence has forced thousands of Christians belonging to the Kuki-Zomi tribe to flee their homes. These Christians were forcefully displaced from their homes with no where to go.
Manipur is an Indian state in the far north-east of India, bordering Myanmar. Manipur is home to several tribal groups, including largely Hindu Meiteis, forming the majority tribe. Additionally there are several other indigenous groups including the predominantly Christian Kuki-Zomi tribe. There have been long-term tensions between these groups over land ownership.
According to witnesses, the initial attacks came from the from members of the Meitei. when members of various scheduled tribe groups of Manipur held a largely peaceful ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ on 3 May. Arosnists smoked churches and houses, causing widespread vandalism and violence. In the end Meiteis and other groups got involved in the violence, however, the Chrisian tribal groups especially the Kuki-omis were disproportionately affected.