Presbyterian Church of India (PCI) calls for prayers for peace and harmony in Manipur, India
The Presbyterian Church of India (PCI) has issued a statement appealing to the government to protect all people and places of worship after violence erupted in Manipur, Northeast India earlier this week. At least 68 deaths and 260 hospitalisations have been reported since violence broke out after thousands from the Naga and Kuki tribes took part in a rally against the majority Meitei ethnic group being granted special status under India’s “Scheduled Tribe” grouping.
In the statement, PCI, a member church in the CWM South Asia region, said that it is “deeply saddened by the ongoing unrest in Manipur severely affecting the life of many people of the state”. It is heart-breaking to know that places of worship are being attacked and burnt down, and houses burnt to ashes, forcing many people to leave their homes”.
The current outbreak of violence is some of the worst in recent decades, and even students in neighbouring communities have been targeted, and churches from the majority community were not spared.1 PCI’s statement urged all parties involved to seek peaceful resolution, and avoid detrimental action, as well as appealed to the government to “contain the unrest immediately and prevent further escalation”.
The Meitei tribe accounts for 50% of the state’s population, and have campaigned for years for this status which gives them access to forest lands and guarantee them a proportion of government jobs and places in educational institutions.2 Other tribes are worried that they may lose control over their ancestral forest dwellings3, and fear that they will be deprived of jobs and other benefits if the Meitei community is given Scheduled Tribe status.
In the statement, PCI asks for prayers and support for peace and harmony in Manipur. CWM General Secretary, Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, expressed his condolences to the families of all the victims from both sides. CWM will urgently provide the Solidarity and Action Grant to support those suffering due to the violence.