Violence and Persecution Persists in Manipur
Violence and persecution have continued in Manipur, India. The conflict, which erupted in violence on May 3 during a solidarity march opposing a Manipur High Court ruling on the Meitei community’s request for tribal status, has put this area of India in a dire situation.
At this point, 360 churches have been burned, 7,000 houses have been burned and 200+ villages have been eradicated. More than 41,000 people have been displaced and between 200 and 350 relief camps have formed. People are fleeing for their lives.
In the midst of internet outages, roads have been blocked, schools have completely shut down, youth and men are holding weapons to guard the land and are being shot.
There are heavy political and religious implications within the conflict, as the Meitei community, who is predominantly Hindu, is targeting the Hill people, a tribal community that is predominantly Christian. A conflict that is seemingly over land that is protected for the tribal community, is also at its heart, a religious conflict as well. Not only is the line between politics and religion blurry, but updates are also not being accurately reported. Regardless, this is a heartbreaking example of persecution among our brothers and sisters in India.
This past week, Wesleyan Methodist Church of East India (WMCEI) leaders met with a few Global Partners leaders, other Indian leaders, as well as church leaders from Mizoram and Myanmar, to receive a word of encouragement and prayer from General Superintendent Emerita, Jo Anne Lyon.
Primarily, Jo Anne wanted to emphasize that the global Wesleyan Church sees, hears and loves our brothers and sisters who are facing these current sufferings. She ensured these leaders that we are standing with them and praying over them during this time. These leaders expressed deep thankfulness.
So far, the Wesleyan Emergency Relief Fund (WERF) going toward the conflict in Manipur has been a huge blessing. Clothes, rice and other goods have been distributed to relief camps in several districts as well as throughout the greater community. Additionally, medical aid has been given to individuals who are sick in the camps. Other churches are also buying rice and basic needs to distribute to the community.
In a recent update, Regional Superintendent of WMCEI, Rev. Lalsandam, stated “We received the relief fund you sent from GP, and we are able to draw it with the help of a bank official. We started distributing it to our members and even outside the members, who are desperately in need, villagers whose houses were vandalized, who ran out to us for life. Thank you very much for this help in time of need.”
Yet the Church in India still needs help. The suffering continues and unfortunately there is not a clear end in sight. As the global Church, we feel that deep financial generosity is needed in order to bless Manipur with necessities such as rice and clothing. It is through these acts of generosity we are able to demonstrate to these brothers and sisters that we have not forgotten their suffering and persecution.
If you feel led, please consider donating donating through the Global Partners Fund for Manipur, which is the second phase of funding due to ongoing need. If you have already donated, we thank you, and would you prayerfully consider donating again, perhaps with an even higher amount?
Please also join us in praying for these beloved individuals. Pray for the new churches, as they strive to grow stronger in their faith in the midst of violence. Pray for safety and provision — especially for food supplies. Ask God to bring an end to the violence.
To stay informed with the updates Global Partners receives from Indian church leaders as they’re received, visit www.gponline.org/manipur-christians/ .
Donations may be given online through the Global Partners Fund for Manipur or by check (cheque).
For United States donations, please make checks payable to The Wesleyan Church with GF03-1014 Manipur written in the memo line. Gifts should be mailed to The Wesleyan Church Corporation, c/o General Treasurer’s Office, 13300 Olio Road, Suite 100, Fishers, Indiana 46037.
For Canadian donations, please make cheques payable to The Wesleyan Church of Canada with GF03-1014 Manipur written in the memo line. These gifts should be mailed to The Wesleyan Church of Canada, P.O. Box 4458, Sussex, NB, E4E 5L6.