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REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
World News

Prayer event to mark 1 year since violent clashes targeting Christians in Manipur

by Tola Mbakwe

A church in Southall is set to host a prayer event on Saturday as ethnic violence against Christians in northeastern India reached its one year anniversary on Friday. 

At least 220 people have been killed due to clashes between the majority Hindu Meitei community and tribal Christian Kukis.

The remote state bordering Myanmar has been hit by violence since 3rd May last year after a court ordered the state government to consider extending special economic benefits and quotas in government jobs and education enjoyed by the Kukis to the majority Meiteis as well.

Although much of the violence was put down within days, sporadic clashes, gun battles and bomb attacks have continued in the state of 3.2 million people.

The region has become divided into a valley controlled by Meiteis and the Kuki-dominated hills, separated by a stretch of no-man's land monitored by federal paramilitary forces, with some 60,000 displaced people living in relief camps.

Security forces in Manipur were on high alert on Friday, anticipating further violence.

"Elaborate preventive measures are in place," a top state police officer said, without giving details about security measures in a state where thousands of extra troops and federal police have been sent in the last year.

Many residents say there is widespread disappointment over the inability of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to end what critics have called a mixture of anarchy and civil war in the state, governed by Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Kuki-dominated hill districts will hold mass prayers in the morning at churches followed by meetings to commemorate those who lost their lives during the past year.

Meanwhile, a prayer gathering at St John’s Southall on 4th May will honour the memory of those who have suffered torture and lost their lives since.

It will also offer prayers for church leaders grappling with uncertainty regarding their future ministries.

Christian journalist and advisor to the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief, David Campanale, will give an update conflict, as well as share a report on his extensive research on the issue.

This event, co-organised with St John’s Southall and the Unau Welfare UK (Kuki-Zo community), will start at 2pm. 

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