Concern grows as Manipur violence set to expand

By August 7, 2023

India (MNN) — Analysts say violence in India’s Manipur state could soon spread. The warring Meitei and Kuki people groups have ethnic ties to communities in neighboring states, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

At least 180 people have died in Manipur’s unrest, and over 60,000 are on the run. A3’s Pastor Mang* says the conflict, ongoing since May, is largely hidden from the outside world.

“My younger brother works in the police department, and he says that the shooting stops around 3, 3:30 in the afternoon, but around 5, 5:30, or 6 [pm], the shooting continues,” Pastor Mang says.

“The situation in Manipur is not getting better. It’s getting worse by the day.”

(Photo courtesy of Bibles For The World)

In the latest attack on a Kuki community, “one of our village volunteers passed away, and three sustained injuries,” he adds.

Political opponents criticize Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his inaction. Modi’s only remarks about Manipur came last month after a Meitei mob paraded two Kuki girls naked and then raped them.

“For the Meitei, exposing themselves naked is to show their deepest anger and hatred,” Pastor Mang says, explaining why assailants may have chosen this attack style.

Unfortunately, it was not an isolated incident. “Two of our (Kuki) young girls who work [at a] car wash were raped and then killed,” Pastor Mang says.

“Their [bodies are] still lying in the morgue; the family cannot collect the [bodies for burial].”

Religious ties complicate the chaos. The Kuki are predominately Christian, while Meitei are majority Hindu. However, the ethnic conflict extends beyond faith lines.

As explained here:

The Kuki and Meitei communities both have legitimate historical grievances and claims to land and resources in the region. … The conflict in Manipur involves a complex interplay of factors that cannot be reduced to a single group’s actions.

Ask the Lord to intervene and end the violence in Manipur. “God is the only one who can stop this madness right now,” Pastor Mang says.


*Name withheld for security purposes



Header image courtesy of Jakfoto Productions/Flickr.