Security Forces in India Kill Many Christians in Manipur
Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Security forces in India have killed 40 Christians in Manipur in Northeast India. India – similar to Indonesia in West Papua (indigenous Christian Papuans face Islamization and Javanization) and Bangladesh (indigenous Buddhists face Islamization and Bengalization) – the government clamps down on outside sources obtaining appropriate information. Therefore, it appears that the security forces are siding with the mainly Hindu Meitei.
Kuki and other Christian tribals have fled Imphal from the mainly Hindu Meitei. Accordingly, ethnic violence and religious differences are utilized by the power and control mechanisms of Manipur and the security forces.
Kuki tribals in early May protested against the prospect of the Meitei being deemed a “Scheduled Tribe.” Since then, bloodshed and the burning of homes have occurred after clashes with the Meitei.
The “Scheduled Tribe” status of the mainly Christian Kuki and other Christian tribals gives certain privileged land-owning rights in the hill areas and surrounding environs. Hence, the fear is that Meitei Hindu power concentration in Imphal will further increase if they are also deemed a “Scheduled Tribe.”
The immediate ethnic angle and targeting of Christian churches entail that the religious angle adds to the hatred. Also, since the early period, some Hindu forces are spreading the religious narrative via various media sources – and on social media.
The Guardian reports, “In towns and villages across India’s north-eastern state of Manipur, some houses have been reduced to ashes while neighboring properties stand untouched, after an eruption of ethnic violence in which more than 70 were murdered and 30,000 forced to flee.”
Open Doors UK reports (Yohan Murray), “The attacks on churches have not come to an end… The churches and Christian houses and properties are constantly attacked. Though the government claims of maintaining peace and order, we do not see the results, every second night there are clashes taking place.”
Yohan Murray continues, “The pro-Hindutva government has not taken any measures to stop the violence, though, on the orders of the Supreme Court, the military has been deployed to maintain peace and order. There has been no initiative from the pro-Hindu-led state and central government.”
Chief Minister N Biren Singh said 40 fighters were killed in a crackdown by security forces.
Singh (deeming Christian defenders to be terrorists) said, “We have started taking very strong action against them with the help of the army and other security forces. We have got reports that some 40 terrorists have been shot dead.”
He continued, “Mass combing operations along with helicopter operations have started. We are trying to find out culprits, those militants, who are attacking the civilians.”
The fear is that Meitei Hindu power concentration will further increase if they are also deemed a “Scheduled Tribe.”
If the central government in India fails to reach out to all sides and listen to respective grievances – and allows the Hindu Meitei to further spread their dominance – while allowing the security forces to take sides: the situation will spiral further.
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