The All Manipur Christian Organisation (AMCO) expressed serious concern over the demolition of three churches belonging to three different denominations in the northeastern Indian state.
Manipur authorities on March 11 demolished the Evangelical Baptist Convention Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church Manipur, and the Catholic Holy Spirit Church at Tribal Colony in Imphal, the state capital.
In a press release on April 12, AMCO condemned the demolition of Christian places of worship under the pretext that they were built on government land without permission.
The group said the “harsh action … has created a nightmare and fear psychosis to the people in and around them and also hurts the sentiments of the Christians in general.”
The Christian body said it is “unfortunate” that the government demolished only Christian worship places despite a Supreme Court instruction for regularization, relocation or removal of unauthorized religious structures.
The Christian body also noted that under the Supreme Court directive, the Manipur Policy for review of unauthorized construction of religious structures was framed and a proposal for regularization of 188 religious structures in five districts was approved by the state cabinet on October 11, 2011. Subsequently they were regularized on October 27 the same year.
“It is unfortunate that not even a single church/Christian worship place was included (regularized). This was a discriminatory decision of the government,” read the AMCO statement.
It urged the state government, now ruled by a coalition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, to follow in its true sense and spirit the noble ideals of secularism enshrined in the Constitution which guarantees Freedom of Religion, Belief, Faith and Worship to every citizen.
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