Tensions between the mostly Christian Kuki tribe and the mostly Hindu Meitei people in the north-eastern state of Manipur escalated into violence. After years of persecution and violence, the latest events have led to the burning of more than 200 churches and the death of more than 60 Christians this very week.
Tensions between these two groups have been brewing for a long time, even decades. But the root of the latest violence was the decision by the pro-Hindu government in Manipur to grant the Meitei more land and benefits, along with the eviction of Christian Kukis from their ancestral lands. The Kuki tribe protested against these events, and the protests escalated into violence.
In response to these protests, extremists from the Meitei ethnic group used the occasion to attack churches; and not only Christian churches from the Kuki tribe, but also Christian churches from their own tribe, in which most Christians are converted Hindus.
Christians from both tribes have left their homes and are being asked to renounce their faith and accept Hinduism. Although some of the Kuki have returned to their tribal land, the Meitei believers continue to come under attack and many of them are forced to convert to Hinduism because they do not want to leave their homes or their faith.
According to the latest on-site reports, more than 230 churches have been burned, more than 1,000 houses and Christian institutions have been destroyed, and more than 60 people have died. More than 10,000 Christians have been transferred to safer places. It could take decades for the community to recover and return to the way it was before all this violence.
Thus, once again the Christian minorities suffer the violence and hatred of radical groups while the authorities and security forces abandon them to their fate.