Amid minorities being targeted in BJP-ruled India, Christians are under growing attack by Hindu extremists in the volatile Indian state of Manipur. 41 churches have been razed to the ground as the mobs went on a rampage, burning houses, vehicles, business establishments and even hospitals belonging to the Christian community. 25 churches and many houses have been burned by Hindus in just a small area of Rani Veng, Jiribam area of the state, so far, over the past few days. Meanwhile, a bench led by Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud is scheduled to hear a petition filed by a Delhi-based body for Manipur tribal communities seeking the constitution of a special investigation team to probe the attacks and violence which has gripped the Manipur.
More than 50 persons killed, left hundreds hospitalized and displaced 23,000 in Manipur violence, which saw assaults on and destruction of dozens of churches. Reports say the majority Hindu Meiti community is seeking to be given the status of Manipur’s tribespeople, a move opposed by extant tribal groups who are mainly Christian. The petition filed by Manipur Tribal Forum, through advocate Satya Mitra and senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, said, the situation in the State was “extreme” and these “attacks had the full support of the party in power in the State as well as the Centre which supports the dominant group and has planned the attacks on account of a non-secular agenda”. The Manipur Tribal Forum said, there have been sparks even in the national capital where Kukis have come under attack by the “dominant community”.
“The assaults have also spread to Delhi where the Kukis in Delhi are also coming under attack by the dominant community. Similar attacks are also taking place in Meghalaya”. The petition said, armed groups were seen roving with semi-automatic weapons, doing house searches in Manipur. The petition said, “Up to today, approximately 41 churches have been razed to the ground, wherein the mobs went on a rampage, burning houses and vehicles, and business establishments and even hospitals belonging to the tribals.” It has asked the apex court to order a team to be put together to conduct an inquiry into the villages burnt and assess the value of property destroyed in the violence.
The petition has listed at least 58 villages in this regard. The petition said the state should be directed to compensate the people and reconstruct the churches. The forum has urged the court to direct a special investigation team to be headed by a former director general of police of Assam to investigate and prosecute the crimes. The tribal body has alleged that the conditions faced by tribal people sheltered in six police force camps are “deplorable and pathetic”.