Home Equality & Justice Catholic journalists hit government, church on Manipur violence

Catholic journalists hit government, church on Manipur violence

Indian Catholic journalists have criticized the government for its alleged inaction to immediately end the violence in Manipur that started nearly two months ago. 

In a statement issued on June 22, the Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA) said it has been 50 days since the violence broke out in Manipur but “precious little is being done to stop the violence.”

“Well-meaning citizens from all over the country are outraged that the State and the Central Governments have not demonstrated the political will to stop the violence, which obviously point(s) out both to their culpability and complicity,” said ICPA President Ignatius Gonsalves.

The association also criticized the Catholic Church in India for not “playing a sufficient and prophetic role” to respond to the Manipur crisis.

“We are also pained that the leadership of the Catholic Church has not sufficiently played a prophetic, prompt, and decisive role to stop this violence and to alleviate the tremendous suffering of the people,” said Gonsalves.

ICPA urged church leadership to immediately “form a high-level team” with other Christian churches and “bring a healing touch to the suffering people” in Manipur. 

“More than a hundred people have been slain. Thousands of others have been brutalized, raped, and rendered homeless. Most of the victims were Christians and tribals,” the statement read.

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The ethnic conflict between the predominantly Hindu Meitei community and tribal Christians, in the northeastern Indian state, has resulted in the loss of at least 100 lives and extensive damage to hundreds of properties. Moreover, 142 villages, over 400 churches, and 83 church institutions have been set ablaze.

More than 40,000 individuals from different communities are displaced in 272 relief camps across 13 districts of Manipur.

The ICPA has demanded the federal government “provide safe passage” and “necessary security” for those driven out of their homes and lands to return.

The group said culprits should be “brought to book,” and “adequate and just compensation” be provided to all victims of violence.

It has also demanded that an 11-member Independent Citizens Tribunal – with representatives from across the country – “be set up to look into the causes and the extent [of] this violence.”

“On our part, as the ICPA, we will leave no stone unturned in our responsibility to highlight the importance of truth and non-violence for a more just, free, equitable, and fraternal India,” said Gonsalves.

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