Christians in northeast India are under attack as violent conflict between two ethnic groups continues to fuel civil unrest.
Violent insurgency has been raging in Manipur state for weeks, killing at least 73 people and destroying nearly 400 churches.
The violence was sparked by government plans to grant preferential status to the Hindu-majority Meitei community in the Imphal Valley. The Kuki community, which resides in the hills of Churachandpur district, has opposed it.
According to reports, 1,000 weapons and 10,000 rounds of ammunition were recently looted from the Manipur Police Training College, two police stations and a battalion camp in Imphal district, but have since been recovered. And a paramilitary group called the Assam Rifles, controlled by the Indian government, found 22 pounds of explosives and 2,000 detonators.
Meanwhile, police stations in Churachandpur were attacked and looted by the Kook community.
Many fear that these weapons will end up in the hands of armed groups.
Christians, who make up about 40% of the region’s three million population, have suffered the most.
“I think the attacks really came from the central government,” David Curry, president and CEO of Global Christian Relief, told CBN News. “The BGJ party has made being a Christian something that is not considered a part of India. Their message seems to be: “If you’re not a Hindu, you’re not an Indian,” and this has allowed violence against Christians and Christians to escalate. Christian churches”.
An unnamed source told the Christian Post that 397 churches and six Christian institutions were either burned, damaged or destroyed, and 64 Christians also died.
Curry says about 9,000 Christians are displaced.
“They’re literally on the run,” he explained.
“No matter how they frame it, whether it’s ethnic violence or anarchist violence, the Indian government always seems to ignore and in some cases even encourage violence against Christians in India,” Curry added.
“We have video evidence showing that the police are assisting the rioters in attacking the churches,” he continued. “You have to look at what they do, not what they say. Central government and local authorities seem to be in cahoots with rioters attacking Christian churches and individuals.”
At one point, around 10,000 soldiers from the Army and the Assam Rifles were deployed in Manipur and 35,000 people were evacuated to safe havens.
Violence in the state first erupted earlier this month after thousands of people took part in a protest march organized by the Manipur All-Tribal Students’ Union to oppose the majority Meitei community’s demand for privileges, including the right to farm on forest land, a cheap bank. loans and health and educational facilities as well as certain quota of government jobs.
Kuldeep Singh, security adviser to the Manipur government, assured a press briefing that everything is under control and that the state is returning to normalcy.
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