Catholic Sabha-Bendoor & Other Units led Silent Protest against Atrocities on Women in Manipur

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Catholic Sabha-Bendoor Unit among Other Catholic Sabha Units across Mangaluru Diocese (totalling around 124 ) led Silent Protest after Sunday masses against Atrocities on Women in Manipur
Mangaluru: On 6 June 2023 ‘SOLIDARITY RALLY’ for a Human Cause of Suffering People Of Manipur was held near the Clock Tower, Mangaluru organized by The Catholic Sabha Mangalore Pradesh, United Christian Forum, Mangaluru, DYFI, which attracted a large crowd near the Clock Tower, Mangaluru to show solidarity with the suffering people affected by the atrocities in Manipur. Various speakers addressed the huge gathering. Carrying placards like “Stop Tribal Genocide in Manipur”; “Peace be in Manipur”; “Provide Justice to Tribals in Manipur”; among many others, a large group of supporters came from Belthangady Diocese, and surrounding vicinities for the protest.

It should be noted that over 300 plus churches and 70 plus church administrative/school buildings were burnt recently in the riots in Manipur. Hundreds of Christians were killed. Over 30,000 were displaced in the worst anti-Christian violence India has ever seen. The violence in the Northeast Indian State of Manipur against Christians in May has been one of the deadliest and most violent attacks against Christians in India.

Verified facts defy the government-sponsored narrative that the conflict is not religious but tribal over land rights. The BJP-led Central government used a decades-old underlying ethnic tension between two ethnic groups to bring down the deadliest violence against Christians. This wave of destruction was instigated by Hindutva nationalists from a particular indigenous community. Most destruction was done in the first three days of conflict from May 3rd- 6th. The destruction continues to this day in the state capital of Imphal and the surrounding Valley with target killings by government forces.

Under the guise of inter-community conflict between the majority Manipuris (Meiteis) and the minority tribal people (collectively known as Kuki/Zomi tribes), almost all churches in the extended Imphal Valley have been burnt, vandalized, or desecrated by militia. Though Meiteis are primarily considered Hindu or of the Sanamahi faith, a small percentage of them have lately converted to the Christian faith. The modus operandi of this violence in Manipur resembles what Hindutva nationalists in places like Godhra and Kandhamal have followed, confirming their involvement in this violence. The disproportionate destruction of Meitei churches in Imphal Valley indicates that Meitei Christians are under more severe economic and social pressure than ever before.

And now sparks yet another incident where two Kuki women were paraded naked, and tortured by the militia outfits, which has outraged people all over India and abroad, condemning the brutal atrocity of Women from the tribal Kuki/Zombi tribes who are Christians. And today, Sunday 23 July nearly 124 Catholic Sabha Units across the Mangaluru Diocese, including the Catholic Sabha Bendoor Unit under the leadership of President Lancy Lasrado led a SILENT PROTEST holding relevant placards depicting the real truth of the Manipur situation, after the Sunday masses at their respective Churches.

At the silent protest held at Bendoor Church, those present were Parish Priest Fr Vincent Monteiro, Assistant Parish Priest Fr Vivian Rodrigues, former MLA J R Lobo and his wife, all the members of Bendoor Catholic Sabha, members of Ladies Social Service League, among others. Their silent protest was against what they described as diabolic events and attacks on Kuki women, condemning the incident in Manipur where two young women were raped and paraded naked in public. The news of the incident, heinous and inhuman as it is, comes when ethnic strife in the State continues even after two-and-a-half months. The Chief Minister, who claimed several such incidents may have taken place, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are silently approving these, alleged a few Parishioners who interacted with Team Mangalorean.

Speaking to Team Mangalorean Lancy Lasrdao, the President of the Catholic Sabha Bendoor Unit said said, “We strongly condemn the atrocities over people, especially the torture, and parading of two Kuki women in Manipur. With so many lives lost still the Central government has not brought the situation to normalcy. While the Kukis and other tribes in the districts close to Imphal are the main targets as a community, the churches targeted include those of the Christians in the Meitei community. The Christians in the State are in shock, and so are the rest of us across India. We offer our solidarity with the distressed and displaced. We urge the government to take immediate measures to restore peace and ensure the safety and security of all its citizens. I also request the faithful to join in large numbers for a protest to be held by Catholic Sabha Units of Mangaluru Diocese on 27 July 2023 near the Clock Tower at 3 pm”.

In conclusion, Caste politics is just a reason, but there is a conspiracy behind the unrest. Why are the police silent when there is so much chaos and destruction of public property? The government must abandon its inertness as women are tortured and abused in Manipur. Those who abused and disgraced Indian women before the world should be taken to task. Chief Minister Biren Singh has not shown any willingness to act against the continuing violence and should resign from his position. The inaction on the part of the governments has been such that the Supreme Court has warned it may be forced to intervene.

We stand for the values of love, peace, and justice. We believe that every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. The recent incidents of violence go against these values and have caused great harm to the people of Manipur. We urge the people of Manipur to avoid forces that instigate division and cause polarization, Let us all pray for the Christians in Manipur.

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