To date, the conflict in Manipur has resulted in the deaths of over 200 people and the displacement of over 70,000 individuals. Close to 400 churches and 7,000 houses have been burnt or destroyed, along with over a 100 villages. However, it is the Christian tribal community who has disproportionately suffered in this conflict.
Months after the attacks began, many still reside in relief camps where they struggle to meet their daily needs due to the evaporation of their jobs and livelihoods. Others are not in relief camps anymore, but have returned to their ruined villages and homes. They are in need of basic amenities: food, daily household items and medicine. The ones who are most affected are women, children and the sick.
Today, Manipur stands divided into segregated districts that are completely Meitei-inhabited or completely Kuki-zo. In an attempt to quell the violence, the government administration has moved both populations into strongholds controlled by their respective communities. Now it is impossible to cross from a Kuki area to a Meitei area, and vice versa, without entering makeshift borders that are controlled by heavily armed soldiers. While the Meitei community has access to the only airport in the state, the Kuki Christian tribals must resort to 16 to 18 hours of driving to access an airport in a neighboring state.
On September 2, the armed forces and the state police forcibly evicted the last remaining Kuki Christian tribal families from their homes in the locality of New Lambulane in a midnight operation. Many residents were awakened from their sleep and shoved into bulletproof cars with only the clothes on their backs—they were not allowed to take anything with them.
Those who need medical care have little or no help, as there are no high-quality hospitals in the hill districts. The need for doctors, medicine and hospital equipment is particularly dire in Christian tribal areas, as the capital city of Imphal has been deemed a Meitei region. It is impossible for Christian tribals to seek medical help there.
The state government has recently announced that they will help build 1,000 permanent homes for victims who have been displaced due to violence. The government also announced that it will provide additional funding for the construction of permanent, semi-permanent and temporary structures. In August, the state government provided prefabricated homes to the Meitei community in Imphal.
The need to engage in relief and rehabilitation is urgent. Equally crucial is the need for the violence to end. The Church in India has an opportunity to help establish trust between the communities, as efforts of reconciliation and peace building begin. What is needed most in Manipur is love, forgiveness and sacrificial giving.
Join us in continued prayer for our persecuted family in Manipur.
Father God, You know the needs of the persecuted Christians of India before we even open our mouths. You see their trials and tribulations and we come before You on their behalf. More than anything, we pray for peace. Let Your perfect peace trump all conflicts between these two groups. Let there be healing and reconciliation.
We also ask You to intervene in the lives of the sick and injured. We know many are suffering. Bless them with the food, medical care and attention they need. Bless the ongoing relief efforts and help those who lost everything.
Lastly, we pray for the leadership in these affected areas. Help these leaders to come together, put their differences aside and act for the betterment of their people. May Your Church be a light during reconciliation talks.
We pray all of this in Your name. Amen.
*Please note: Pictured above is a memorial for those who lost their lives to the Manipur violence.
About the author
Tim Dustin writes for Global Christian Relief and is passionate about sharing the story of our persecuted brothers and sisters with the global Church. Get an overview of Christian persecution on our website and read the latest stories at GlobalChristianRelief.org.