A wave of violence in Manipur, India, continues to run rampant, with 400 churches being burned and more than 70 Christians killed.
According to The Christian Post, the predominantly Hindu Meitei community — Arambai Tengoll, also known as “black-shirts,” and Meitei Leepun — were alleged to be responsible for the violence.
Earlier this month, violence broke out at the Imphal Valley and Churachandpur, resulting in at least four days of turmoil. Christian tribals associated with the Kuki-Zo communities reside in the Churachandpur.
As reported by The Indian Express, more than 1,000 weapons and 10,000 rounds of ammunition were stolen from the Manipur Police Training College, two local police stations, and an IRB battalion camp in Imphal by members of the Meitei ethnic group during the first few days of the violence.
At the time, 73 people, 64 of whom were Christian tribal residents, were killed, while 200 people were left injured. Over 1,700 residences were also damaged, destroyed, or set on fire. As a result, the turmoil forced 50,000 individuals to abandon their homes. Among those affected were about 35,000 belonging to Christian tribal communities.
According to The Christian Post, a local source noted that tribal residents from the Imphal Valley have all fled in light of the violence. In the same manner, all Meiteis previously residing or working in Churachandpur, including government and police officials, have also abandoned their homes.
The source also pointed out that 397 churches and six Christian institutions were either damaged, burned or destroyed in light of the alleged violence of the Meiti Hindus. The churches affected were primarily places of worship for Meitei Christians.
In response to the violence, Archbishop Dominic Lumon of Imphal, whose jurisdiction overlooks all of Manipur, has called for an appeal for funds to help those affected.
He also cautioned of a “general sense of hopelessness and desperation” across the area as all communities, regardless of their affiliation, are affected by the ensuing conflict.
At Least 58 Killed, 50 Churches Destroyed in Violence in India
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kathy Kafka
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.