Ethnic Violence Rocks India’s Northeastern State Of Manipur
Persecution against Christians is not a thing of the past. It is very much alive and growing around the world, as in the case of Manipur state in India. Men, women, and children have been beaten and attacked by ravaging mobs. Houses and entire villages have been set on fire. It is basically ethnic cleansing by the majority Meiteis against the Kukis and other hill tribes. About 320 Christian churches have been attacked. From four to five thousand homes have been burned. There are approximately 37,000 individuals either displaced or in refugee camps. 120 villages have been attacked, and the attacks continue each day. How did all of this happen? It started over disputes about quotas and tribal status.
But, it is basically a political issue. Who gets to claim special tribal status? Why is that so important? This designation, among other things, gives an advantage to educational opportunities and government employment. At the present time only the Naga and Kuki people groups have this designation, but the Meiteis want the same status. The Meiteis have painted marks on the gates and walls of the tribals so that when violence breaks out the mobs will know which houses to attack.
There is a scarcity of both resources and opportunities for employment in this part of India, so any effort to get an edge in the search for employment becomes vital for survival. If the Meiteis could be reclassified as “tribal”, it would give them the opportunity to buy land in the hills and a chance for government jobs. This is not simply a conflict between Hindus and Christians, but is much more about politics. A local news site has called the conflict a “total breakdown of law and order.”
A spokesman from Manipur, who was just interviewed, has verified that you cannot believe everything that you read in newspaper publications. The government has shut down the internet, and Christians cannot send correct information to the outside. Christians have to leave the state to send accurate pictures and information to the world of atrocities being perpetrated upon the Christian community.